3 hikers from Utah now missing in the Superstitions

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Mrs.Oroblanco
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Re: 3 hikers from Utah now missing in the Superstitions

Post by Mrs.Oroblanco »

I don't know who watches Monsters & Mysteries in America, but, Rick Gwynne - who was the man
who found the first hiker, was recently in an episode of this program, telling about the incident. (I believe this was produced in conjunction with a family member). There is much of the story that many have never heard.

I am glad they are all back home -

Mrs.O

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Re: 3 hikers from Utah now missing in the Superstitions

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Mrs.Oroblanco wrote:I don't know who watches Monsters & Mysteries in America, but, Rick Gwynne - who was the man
who found the first hiker, was recently in an episode of this program, telling about the incident. (I believe this was produced in conjunction with a family member). There is much of the story that many have never heard.

I am glad they are all back home -

Mrs.O
Mrs. O, is there anyway to help me find the link to be able to view. I will search, also. Thanking your for your reply.

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Re: 3 hikers from Utah now missing in the Supers?

Post by Casca »

gollum wrote:Jim,

I have to disagree with you here. While I am sorry that they are missing, and I hope to God they all turn up just fine, I Get sick and damned tired of how often this happens. Not just in the Supers, but all over the Deserts and Mountains of the Southwest.

I posted this on TNet, and I will repost it here:

A problem you won't have in Tennessee that happens every summer in the deserts of the Southwest is that when temperatures hit 115-120 degrees crystals won't form for the LCD Screen to work. That means GPS is worthless.

If you don't have TOPOs, a good lensatic compass, and excellent land navigation skills...............and you just happen to be in some of the most godforsaken places in the country......................there is a better than average chance you could die.

It's not nice to hear, but it happens every year. Freakin' (being polite) idiots wander off into the nether regions of the American Southwest without any desert experience or idea what it is REALLY like there, and go missing. Many times they turn up dead.

I hope these guys turn up okay. Its' still within the time frame for them to be alive, but these people just keep coming. First, it was Jesse Capen from Denver that disappeared last November. He still hasn't turned up. People are still looking for his body, then before the story is even old these three wander into the void. Jesse Capen and these three were all looking for the Lost Dutchman.

I have some sage advice for you people reading this, who think you have the solution to the Lost Dutchman or any other desert based lost mine story:

If you honestly look at yourself, and you fit into one of these categories:

1. Have any health issues

2. Have little or no desert survival experience

3. Are fat

4. Are old

5. Are fat and old

6. Can't read a TOPO Map as easily as an obituary

7. Don't have a lot of Land Navigation experience

8. Don't know EXACTLY how to shoot Azimuths and Back Azimuths using a lensatic compass

9. Don't know what the North Star, Big Dipper, or Little Dipper look like

10. Don't know the formulae for determining the amount of water you will need per hour of hiking/climbing

THEN STAY OUT OF THE DAMNED DESERTS AND MOUNTAINS IN THE SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Even the very experienced old timers don't go into the mountains until later in the year when things cool down.

If you are 60 years old, live in Connecticut, are an accountant, and are 50 pounds overweight............ make friends with someone who can check out your theories for you. And no......I am not looking to run down anybody's theories for them. HAHAHA There's not enough time in my life for my own projects.

Stay safe and don't be stupid (unless you take out a large life insurance policy on yourself).

Best-Mike


PS

Buy a SPOT:

http://www.findmespot.com/en/
Mikes post has saved me a lot of pain and maybe more. My wife has seen some of the places I go, and Im not allowed in the Supers lol. But simple tools will save your butt. Have a compass and know how to use it. This is a old post, and we all know it didn't end well. Its that time again, bee careful, bee's snakes, heat exhaustion, and loose dirt under your feet. I take 3 days provisions for my day pack, doesn't matter I stay with in sight of my truck lol. That's this fat mans rule, if I cant see the truck time to turn back.

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Re: 3 hikers from Utah now missing in the Superstitions

Post by Mrs.Oroblanco »

Mike,

Thumbs up all the way.

And, to others - even if you are fit, under 60, and have won the Mr. Atlas contest 12 years in a row, there are also 2 legged dangers out there, along with the 0, 4, 6 and 8 legged variety. And, as far as seeing your vehicle - many have been found dead within sight of their vehicles. The Supes are a place onto itself. Many places "look" worse, and that's part of the problem. Too many people underestimate the desert, and overestimate their skills. You can die without ever knowing you are getting sick.

Enough of that - I, like Mike, am am tired of story after story of folks who get hurt or killed. And, those who are experienced in it, are not immune - its just that little side look-see at whatever that shape is over there - ---

As far as Rick and the program - I have a copy of it - but, let me see if I can get permission to put it on here - or if I can get a link for anyone who wants to can see it (or maybe a time and date when it will run again, as I was told it would run more than once this year).

Mrs.O

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Re: 3 hikers from Utah now missing in the Superstitions

Post by Matthew Roberts »

The three Utah hikers entered the mountains in the hottest time of year with almost nothing because they planned to hike in and back out each day. They drastically underestimated their abilities and sadly paid the ultimate price.

Jesse Capen however was the opposite case. Jesse went into the mountains well prepared, in fact so well prepared it was remarkable. He had enough food, water, shelter, maps and incidentals for three people. He knew how to hike and take the necessary precautions. Jesse is an example of how even if you take precautions to cover all the bases, the mountains can still take your life. Just one little mistake, one slight err in judgement and there is no forgiveness.

Jesse had been to the top of Tortilla Mountain (Tortilla peak). No one knows for sure the route he took to get there as there are more than one way to reach the peak. What we do know is he made one mistake after leaving the peak and returning to his camp a little over a mile away. Jesse chose to take a straight line from the peak to his camp. When he reached a saddle below Tortilla peak he could see his camp off to the right and below him. It was a tempting thought to bear to the right and make good time back to camp.

But from that saddle you cannot make it down to where his camp was. You have to go left and take a longer route that looses sight of his camp. Jesse went right and by the time he realized the cliffs were too steep to go down without ropes and climbing gear he had either come too far and didn't want to climb back up to the saddle, or he looked at his topo and decided he could make it anyway.

The topo map is misleading, it looks as if someone might make their way down even though it is steep. In reality, it's almost sheer cliffs, you get so far down and you are stuck and can go no further. It's difficult to get yourself back up by that time.

I don't know what happened to Jesse or what was going through his mind at that point, I learned long ago you couldn't go down that way and ended up having to go all the way down into Peters canyon and back up the shale hill trail to get to the area where Jesse's camp was. Jesse must have either fallen trying to make it down those cliffs, or in another scenario, daylight was fading and he walked right off the cliff, it would be easy to do in that place in the dark or half light.

Jesse was well prepared and he was as good a hiker as any I've seen, he just made one little error in judgement and it tragically cost him his life. A good reminder to all of us that no matter how well we prepare, how good we think we might be, we are mortal and cannot ensure our safety in those mountains.

Matthew K. Roberts

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Re: 3 hikers from Utah now missing in the Superstitions

Post by Casca »

I think you are referring to determination. The fact that afterwards if we survived we tell ourselves we wont do that again. I dont hike for gold, I hike to meet personal goals. That gold is hide well, and you could be standing on top of it and still not be able to get it.

I enjoy the stories I hear about local legends here, like Doc Noss. I seen one of the holes he found. I do not know how he moved that much dirt. But he still couldn't get the gold. Im reading the Gold House Trilogy now. Unfortunately it is a hard read for me as I dont care about the conspiracy stuff. I think the write made a mistake there.

Only been at this a few years. Seen a few holes. You can follow the trail all you want. But getting in a covered mine is another chore, in a bad condition. But folks are still finding stuff.

I believe with any great amount of gold and silver there must be a curse. I dont think it was just the Spanish burying things under a cactus or creating other obstacles. The supers are not ready to give up its secrets, or we could be looking in the wrong spot.

I think these hikers let their guard down. If Jessee did mess up, and was too lazy to get back on the proper trail. I believe you may be more correct than most about him loosing his footing on a steep bank. I done it myself. I was lucky I had a soft cactus to land on. I liked it so well, I fell twice, almost same spot. Was it worth it, yes it was. I didn't even fell the tiny little spikes, I was very hot, and really working the trail. My wife laughed every time she would pull one of the spikes out of my hide later.

But the fall and Rattlesnakes are not the most dangerous things in the trail. It would be a toss up between bee's and mountain lions.

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Re: 3 hikers from Utah now missing in the Superstitions

Post by Mrs.Oroblanco »

Jesse was well-prepared - and he had been in the Supes before. I believe Jesse DID make a mis-calculation, but, I'm not convinced that is what did him in. Either way - the point still is, even if you do it all the right way - you can still have a problem you cannot get out of.

About Doc Noss - my understanding of the Victorio Peak adventure says that he DID find the gold, and hid some gold bars. Then hired an idiot to blast the opening , who screwed up and blasted it shut. Of course, the rest of my opinion involves our government taking the rest - that place looked like the Lavender Pit in Bisbee - roads everywhere - actually, you can still see a lot of them.

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Re: 3 hikers from Utah now missing in the Superstitions

Post by Casca »

I agree things happens. As long as it doesnt happen at the wrong place. You suspect Jesse had a lil push?

I was not refering to Victorio Peak, but one of his other holes. Vicky Peak does resemble at least one site i have found. But Im too chicken to go in too far.

Im dealing with small hills compared to what you have in the Supers? I guess Im confused. Im told that no gold exist in the supers because the way its made. But there is mine sign everywhere and folks go looking for it? I understand the need for camps, but why all the sign in the Supers if there is no gold?

Now I really dont expect answers to that as I have my own ideas. I would have to actually visit the Supers and my wife doesnt ask much but she does not want me there. I spent many years in the bush with the Army. Every day things happened. We were prepared. We practiced a lot. But things would break, people would break legs, get lost, bite by everything.....and sudden storms can be brutal.

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Re: 3 hikers from Utah now missing in the Superstitions

Post by Mrs.Oroblanco »

:D No, I don't think Jesse had a 'lil push. There is just a lot of weird things about the situation. By the way - there is one of those Discovery Channel series about Jesse Capen, too. They just finished the
editing last time I heard - about a month ago. I don't know the release date on that yet.

Anybody (most "seasoned" folks on this forum) can tell you that you can get gold out of the Supers in several places. Not the "I'm getting rich" kind, but, there it is definitely mineralized. The biggest reason that people say its not mineralized, is because the government couldn't have made it a wilderness, legally, if it WAS mineralized. The powers that be didn't even care that there were active mines - they just wanted to make it a wilderness. (much like many other places).

The thing with the Supes, is that what you see on a map, or on Google Earth, ain't necessarily what you get. Like many other deserts, it changes every time you turn around. It won't look tomorrow like it looks today. What looks like a trail is really a wash, and vice-versa, and just because you hiked up the wash last week, doesn't mean you can this week. One week you can hike, the next week you can swim.

Actually - to me, the government has made it worse (in all areas) with the new topo maps - they are erasing water sources, trails, mines and many other features off the new topos - which, in itself, is
going to kill someone who might run out of water and not have a clue that there is a tank 35 yards away - or, as in the case of some old mines up there, they are no longer on the map, and, with all the vegetation, it wouldn't take much to end up at the bottom of one if you didn't know it was there and you decided to walk through the vegetation. This is true for all the USGS maps. You can buy extra overlays, but, they are still not complete, like they used to be. So, Supes, Arizona, New Mexico, wherever, just be careful of where you put your feet, and, talk to people who have been in the areas you want to go - what you learn may save your life.

I'm not trying to preach, but, I've had the experience of digging someone out of an old mine - and it is not pretty. And, I've got to be honest - some of this stuff - I learned the hard way - 40 years ago, I didn't have anyone to tell me that the desert makes you sweat during the day, and you can freeze to the ground at night.

Be Safe!!

Mrs.O

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Re: 3 hikers from Utah now missing in the Superstitions

Post by Matthew Roberts »

It's really a shame what happened to Jesse Capen. I'm sure there was no foul play and he had plenty of his medicine with him so I don't think that had any bearing on his death. I can't say for sure but as a guess having been that same route, it was getting dark and Jesse realized he shouldn't have gone the route he did and tried to make it anyway, storms were in the area so he probably didn't want to risk being caught out away from camp overnite even though he had things with him to accomplish an overnite out in the elements. From the exact spot he fell, it looks to me he just walked off the cliff in the dark and never saw it coming.
That's just my personal opinion on what I think may have happened.

Matthew K. Roberts

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