Missing since signing the summit register on Mt. Goode July Fourth, on Wednesday Inyo Search and Rescue Volunteers took on the difficult and sad task of retrieving the body of 44 year old mountaineer Ric DeVan from where it lay on a high Sierra cliff. What led to the tragic fall is not and may never be known.
Major search operations were suspended on Friday after a week of searching turned up few positive signs of the missing man. With new evidence the Inyo SAR team checked out a lead on a rockslide Sunday, but friends and family kept searching this week, putting eyes to ground in the Bishop Pass area.
On Tuesday, a searcher affiliated with the DeVan Family, spotted Ric DeVans backpack from the summit of Peak 12,689, west of Bishop Pass. With this important new lead, Inyo SAR headed in to search the area on Wednesday.
Initial reports indicated that DeVan might have been caught and buried in a rock slide, so an Inyo SAR dog team was flown into the area. While flying in to 12,689, the helicopter was used to search the area. In a short period of time, the dog handler spotted DeVan in a steep gully about 150 feet below the summit of the peak.
A team of Inyo SAR volunteers hiked to the base of the peak to recover DeVan. After climbing about 350 of loose fourth and fifth class rock, the volunteers lowered DeVan down the cliff and carried him to the waiting helicopter.
DeVan signed the summit register on Mt. Goode on July 4th saying that he intended to head toward Mt. Johnson. The plan was to meet up with his wife and daughter at Treasure Lakes on the Fourth. It now appears that after reaching the summit of Mt. Goode, DeVan changed plans, being un-equipped to climb the loose fourth and fifth class ridge between himself and his destination of Mt. Johnson and Treasure Lakes. He then reversed direction, and headed back toward the trail at Bishop Pass.
Peak 12,689 where he was found, is the last peak on the ridge that leads from Mt. Goode to Bishop Pass.