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Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Posted: Nov 16 2010 2:04 pm
by Dschur
Hike Arizona urges anyone interested in searching to post or join an event.

If you go out, please track your hike on a GPS and post it for the benefit of future searches. Simply post it upon return. (if you need help ask the webmaster) Hike Arizona will see that it gets linked to a master map. If you have multiple variations in your group, please post all tracks. As more info is posted the map will evolve and the overlaps will be removed.

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Forecast Mormon Grove & Peeley

Crews looking for missing hiker
By Alexis Bechman

November 16, 2010
Tonto Rim Search and Rescue volunteers and Gila County Sheriff officers are currently searching for an overdue hiker.

The man, whose name has not been released, was last heard from nine days ago and is believed to be hiking near the Mt. Peeley trail or Sheep Mountain, off Forest Road 201, southwest of Payson.

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office first received a call that the man was overdue Monday, Nov. 15 about 9 p.m.

“The hiker has not been heard from since Nov. 7 and frequents the Mazatzal Mountain Wilderness area,” according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.

The missing hiker’s vehicle was located at the Mt. Peeley trailhead.



Six TRSAR volunteers are currently searching the ground. Earlier Tuesday, a Department of Public Safety Ranger helicopter did an aerial search of the area, but found no signs of the man

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 12:24 am
by nonot
Below is a Garmin GPS map I have created for the area Joe is believed to be missing in. While I have not been on Sheep Mtn, I have attempted to mark the most likely routes that appeared possible from elevation data.

You will want to save your existing GMAPSUPP.img file, or rename it, before putting this into your Garmin folder.
If you wish to add topo data, this area lies right on the border between (EDIT) Arizona J and F (END EDIT) topo regions at http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php.

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 1:45 am
by cathymocha
Thanks for the update, Hank...hope you feel better soon.

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 5:48 am
by drewboy
Oh man, this is really awful. I don't think there's a member on HAZ that Joe hasn't helped out at some point. My thoughts and prayers go out to Joe and his family as we hope for a miraculous recovery.

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 7:24 am
by Davis2001r6
Good luck this morning search crews, really hoping for some great news!

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 7:46 am
by ssk44
It's really hard to hear about something like this. Anyone that frequents rugged backcountry areas, likely understands how daunting a place like Sheep Mountain is. My heart goes out to all that know him personally. I was ironically looking at that area from where I was on Saturday. It's difficult to wrap your head around something like that. I will be praying over this unfortunate event. Below are two satellite images of Sheep Mountain. The first image shows Mount Peeley at the lower left with the summit of Sheep Mountain at the upper right. The second image is only of Sheep Mountain and focuses on the north slopes.



1.jpg

2.jpg

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 11:32 am
by Alston_Neal
Oh my goodness, I'm hoping today will be a good day.
My thoughts and prayers to family and friends.

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 11:40 am
by JoelHazelton
It really hits close to home this time... Have to hope for the best.

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 1:18 pm
by thebrayer
I was at the Mt. Peeley trailhead yesterday with around ten other TRSAR members and we sent in a six man squad with four of them acting as rely points for radio. It took from 8:30 AM till around 2:30 PM just to get two squad members to Sheep Mt. where the search is being concentrated. I and several other members had to leave the trailhead to make room for two horse trailers and four horses being brought in for the search. Last night they made a call for extreme hikers from our squad which was requested by Central Mt. rescue. The country is really tough to get through (no trails and heavy brush) If he has water or has found a water source there is a good chance he'll be ok. Although the night temps were in the high twenties for most of the nights he's been out. My prayers go out to him and his family.

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 1:39 pm
by BobP
GPSJoe's triplog from April... I also pm'ed you thebrayer
The snow is gone, the trails are completely dry and the downed tree blocking access to the Mount Peeley TH has been cleared. So the pool is open.

I made another unsuccessful attempt to reach Sheep Mountain. This time my GPS said I was 0.35 miles (straight line) from the summit. What does me in on this hike is not the terrain but rather the low vegetation - Manzanita, Cactus, other stuff.

The approach I have tried is to go past the Mt Peeley summit turnoff on the Divide trail for just over 1/2 mile and turn left to gain the ridgeline which is only 200 yards (straight line) from the trail there. The first half mile of off trail hiking to the ridgeline is relatively easy since the forest floor is clear for hiking. After that the hiking becomes tough. The ridgeline involves class 3 scrambling and rock climbing and that is not the tough part. It is the low vegetation that eventually does me in. I made it to peak 6910 and beyond just before Sheep Mountain.

You need to be a little crazy to try this one but I know there are some crazies out there.

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 4:44 pm
by Thoreau
Does anyone have any contact info for the SAR team in charge, and are they looking for volunteers?

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 4:47 pm
by BobP
@Thoreau
According to Sun_Hiker.... contact Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 5:16 pm
by Al_HikesAZ
Thoreau wrote:Does anyone have any contact info for the SAR team in charge, and are they looking for volunteers?
MCSOSRThe Maricopa County Sheriffs Office Search and Rescue and CAMRA Central Arizona Mountain Rescue Association are in charge. They have a command post established off of SR87 on the way to Mount Peeley. Probably a good idea to check in. They might not be able to use you but who knows. The trails aren't closed. Just try not to add any confusion.

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 5:57 pm
by cabel
Hang tough GPS Joe all of your HAZ friends have you in our prayers and know we all looking for you.

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 7:56 pm
by Grasshopper
Some Search and Rescue updates for GPSjoe as of this 11/17pm:

.. As of completion of SAR today by a large group of both GIla and Maricopa County team members, NO SIGNS OF GPSJOE.

.. Gabriele spent the entire day at the Peeley TH with updates back to Joe's son Chris and myself who spent most of the morning and early afternoon on Joe's personal home computer.. We did locate Joe's actual April'10 GPS Track(referenced in this thread) with some additional planned track options attached and dated 11/7 by Joe (this is good news as we felt that these revised tracks with the April track were hopefully the ones he had loaded in his Garmin 62s GPS for his 11/8 return hike attempt). The Patrol/SAR Commander for Maricopa County Sheriff Office arrived at Joe's home shortly after and was able to download into his laptop for more detailed use by the SAR teams late afternoon 11/17 and tomorrow Thurs-11/18. Good news in that if these revised tracks is what Joe was using on 11/8, then the searched area for 11/16 and 11/17 were mostly in this same area, so no time should have been lost in our route guessing on 11/16am. in an effort to gain the Sheep Mtn Ridgeline to Sheep Mtn summit via "off trail" from the Mazatzal Divide TR23.

..As I now understand, today some SAR team members did make it all the way from TR23 to the summit of Sheep Mtn (via ridgeline) and had time to explore coming and going, but no signs of Joe reported. This same effort as today but also having the above referenced 11/7 GPS track options will be used on 11/18 as the search continues..

..Gabriele will also post her more specific updates for 11/17 on AZH later tonight.
(Ref AZH link.. http://www.arizonahikers.com/forum/view ... 646da25cca )

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 8:18 pm
by Randal_Schulhauser
Saddened to hear about this today. Thanks for update Hank, I'm sure this is tough...

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 9:04 pm
by SuperstitionGuy
FYI - it is very important to leave detailed information with a responsible friend or loved one when you are going out into any wilderness or even a city park hike.

When Hank/Grasshopper contacted Joe regarding his concerns for GPSjoe his question was how to contact the responsible SAR unit for this trailhead location. I happened to be online at the time and Joe immediately copied Hanks request to me. I responded to Joe to have Hank or Gabriele immediately contact the Sheriff's department for the County that the trailhead was located in as the first thing they would do is send a deputy out to the trailhead looking for the subjects vehicle.

Nothing else is usually done until this is accomplished. Each County Sheriff's department knows the roads and trailheads for their hiking and backpacking locations and they know what SAR unit is best equipped to handle the various areas within their County and are responsible for despatching that SAR resource. If the location is close to a boundry of two or more Counties which is the case in this search it is very important to reach the correct County dispatch for the location where the overdue persons vehicle may be parked at.

Therefore please know your County lines and County Sheriff's phone numbers when you leave information with your responsible friend or loved one before you head out.

Time is of the essence for searches to be successful in bringing you back and back alive and searchs do not begin until SAR units know where you started your outdoor adventure.

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 9:09 pm
by nonot
If possible, could one of the searchers who was out there today post the road conditions? Is the road suitable for a car, or would high clearance be needed? I made it out there once in my car but it was rough then before it received a good thrashing this last winter...

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 9:24 pm
by nonot
For anyone considering helping this weekend, but reading about the rugged nature of the area, please keep in mind that Joe's itinerary doesn't appear to be set in stone (from the information that has been made available so far). Other trails in the area besides the off-trail Sheep Mtn may still need to be searched and are not as difficult.

The Cornucopia Trail doesn't appear that bad, though I've never done it.
The first 5 miles of the Mazatzal Divide trail is only moderately difficult and not extreme at all.
Mt Peeley summit is not far and probably only on the moderately difficult level.
The upper part of Deer Creek could be searched, it is a short trail, however this trail is faint and should only be attempted with a GPS and GPS track.

Do not think you have to be rambo to make a difference.

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 9:47 pm
by nonot
GPS Joe's april triplog, with elevation figures, and "as the bird flies" estimated distance from Sheep Mtn Peak appeared to place GPS Joe at 33 degrees 59.596 north, 111 degrees, 30.061 minutes west in mid April 2010, which is along the obvious ridgeline that runs between Mt Peely and Sheep Mtn. This appears to be somewhat different than the coordinates reported as most likely thus far by Hank (Grasshopper) for where GPS Joe would have left the Mazzie Divide Trail. However, it seems this route to the peak was reported by thebrayer to have been searched today with no sighting of Joe.

Bless the people that took today off to search, and I hope that tomorrow will bring luck as more people are brought in.

Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals

Posted: Nov 17 2010 9:57 pm
by azdesertfather
nonot wrote:If possible, could one of the searchers who was out there today post the road conditions? Is the road suitable for a car, or would high clearance be needed? I made it out there once in my car but it was rough then before it received a good thrashing this last winter...
nonot, the 10-mile dirt road to Peeley is currently passable by car. When we did AZT segments 23 & 24 two weekends ago, Tortoise Hiker took his Ford Focus in there and though careful in spots was able to make it in.