Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Calif. (Oct. 29) — After more than a week of searching for hiker Robert “Bob” Woodie, the mission has been put on hold due to a series of incoming winter storms forecasted for over the next week.
All search teams were taken out of the field Wednesday afternoon in anticipation of the significant weather event, which was forecasted to bring two to three feet of snow at elevations above 8,000 feet and high winds, with gusts up to 75 mph.
“We’ve completed very thorough ground and aerial searches in very difficult terrain over the last nine days, but the storms would put our search teams at risk and decrease our ability to find clues,” explained Rich Browne, incident commander for the search. “When it clears, we’ll reassess, but it does look like weather and snow coverage will end our ability to continue active ground and aerial search operations.”
The suspension of an active field search moves the operation into what is called “limited continuous,” which may include air searches, backcountry patrols, and outreach to hikers heading into the area. The operation will be upgraded to an active search if any leads about or whereabouts of Mr. Woodie are discovered. Additionally, the Incident Management Team continues to evaluate data collected by field teams while investigators continue to follow up on leads.
The itinerary for Mr. Woodie, a 74-year-old resident of Manhattan Beach, CA, was a four-day backpacking and fishing trip between Thursday, October 13 and Sunday, October 16. An experienced hiker who knew the area, he parked his vehicle at the South Lake trailhead in Inyo National Forest and hiked over Bishop Pass into Kings Canyon National Park. An “OK” check-in message was sent from his satellite GPS device on Saturday evening from the Barrett Lakes area. A winter storm that night and next day brought very high winds, overnight temperatures to below freezing, and snow to some areas above 10,500 feet. When Mr. Woodie did not return from his trip, his family notified authorities.
The National Park Service continues to ask the public to contact officials at 559-565-3195 if they were in the search area between Thursday, October 13 and Thursday, October 20. The 26-square-mile search area within Kings Canyon National Park consists of Bishop Pass, Dusy Basin, Barrett Lakes, and the John Muir Trail/Pacific Crest Trail between Muir Pass and Mather Pass. The area is a high sierra alpine environment, between approximately 8,000 and 12,000 feet elevation. The rugged terrain includes areas of forest, alpine lakes, and areas above tree line with talus slopes and rocky mountain passes.
Over 130 personnel have worked on this multi-agency operation within Kings Canyon National Park. They include Yosemite National Park (YOSAR, including YODOGS, and Helicopter 551), L.A. County Sheriff’s Department (with Sierra Madre Search and Rescue), and Fresno County Sheriff’s Department, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department, California Office of Emergency Services, China Lake Search and Rescue, National Weather Service’s Hanford field office, USGS, and U.S. Forest Service.
That’s the worse idea I’ve heard so far. There’s no way I’ll wear a tracking collar in the back country. We go out there knowing of the risks. We know we are taking our chances every time we put our backpacks on and yet we do it over and over… Read more »
He actually had a Spot sattlelight messenger……
I love animals.
Thanks for all your sweet replies. Now you can all get lost!
Gosh,with all the warnings and advise and orders coming from the “authorities” these days on anything and everything (the rain storm in L.A. this past week,a news conferance,complete with the Mayor,LAPD,and the LAFD, telling people to turn on your windshield wipers while driving ),it wouldn’t surprise me if in the… Read more »
Just like the mountain lion the hiker needs to be wearing a tracker.
Trouble….easy answer to your question there…animals are a heck of a lot better and smarter than people are,in case you haven’t noticed that…animals don’t make mistakes like people do,unless it’s them getting around people….I hope Mr. Woodie is found alive and safe.
with a collar. Maybe solo hikers should wear a collar??
With all the technology in this country, there has to be a way to find a person lost in the middle of nowhere. Hell we can track every step of a mountain lion.
Well we could all wear radio collars. I’m sure no one here would object to the gov. watching our every move. They have a satellite device that every hiker. skier, fisherperson or other outdoors type should carry. Push a button and it sends a signal that says, Help, I am… Read more »
If you’re willing to wear a radio collar, we could track you, too. Otherwise, it’s not that easy to track, or even find somebody in the back country.