GENERIC HEADER NEWS MISSING PERSONS

Found Deceased CA - Ling Dao, 41, Hiking Mt. Whitney, 12 June 2019

Discussion in 'Located Persons Discussion' started by PommyMommy, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. Suglo

    Suglo Well-Known Member

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    Yes. The search was delayed 48 hours due to the actions of the car rental company. Pretty disturbing.
     
  2. PommyMommy

    PommyMommy #ShinelikeShanann

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    https://www.washingtonpost.com/loca...32cada-920d-11e9-956a-88c291ab5c38_story.html
    A Virginia man believed missing on California’s Mount Whitney is an accomplished hiker and marathon runner who has been determined to summit the peak since a failed attempt last year, his family said Tuesday.

    Search and rescue teams combed the state’s tallest peak on Tuesday for a third day to look for Ling Dao, who was reported missing June 14. Snowy, icy conditions were complicating the search in an area that spanned about 30 square miles (80 square kilometers) of high-mountain terrain, said Carma Roper, a spokeswoman for the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, which is leading the search.

    [...]

    Family members said Dao was in excellent physical condition.

    “He is an experienced hiker and very athletic. Fitness is his life. He runs marathons pretty much every week,” said a sister, CD, 25.

    [...]

    The family says Ling had a 1-day permit to climb Mount Whitney and confirmed that he checked in on June 12. The sheriff’s office says it has received several reports of hikers who saw or spoke with Dao both at the summit and during his ascent.

    [...]

    “Due to the misinformation provided by the rental agency, our search was delayed,” said CD. “Our window for finding Ling is extremely small now.”

    (Name changed to initials by me)
     
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  3. Gardener1850

    Gardener1850 Well-Known Member

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    Last June, Dao attempted to climb Mount Whitney with his two brothers but only made it halfway up the 14,505-foot (4,421-meter) mountain, said Kimmai Dao, 36, another sister.

    "Since then, Ling has been upset about not finishing it. That's why he wanted to do it again," she said, adding that her two other brothers flew out to California to join the search efforts.

    The family says Ling had a 1-day permit to climb Mount Whitney and confirmed that he checked in on June 12. The sheriff's office says it has received several reports of hikers who saw or spoke with Dao both at the summit and during his ascent.

    According to a Facebook post by the sheriff's office, the rental car company Dao used initially told the office he returned the vehicle June 14, which they later changed to June 15.

    The vehicle was located June 15 at a campground parking area, and a search was launched the next day.

    "Due to the misinformation provided by the rental agency, our search was delayed," said Chelley Dao. "Our window for finding Ling is extremely small now."

    Family: Missing Mount Whitney hiker is experienced climber
     
  4. amymarie

    amymarie Well-Known Member

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    I always assumed permits were issued so officials would know if someone didn’t return down the mountain. Is that not the case?

    If it is, then how come no one at the mountain realized he never checked back in at the bottom?
     
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  5. Steelslady

    Steelslady Well-Known Member

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    Respectfully snipped and bolded by me:

    I am confused, anyone else?

    He checked in on Mt. Whitney on the 12th.

    Rental agency stated he returned the car on the 14th, then said 15th. So, the car was never returned, correct? That is a huge mistake to make in terms of a rental- they told them the 14th, then the 15th, when he never returned the car at all?!
     
  6. Catcrunchfever

    Catcrunchfever Active Member

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    Huge mistake, indeed. I hope it's not a fatal mistake.
     
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  7. Steelslady

    Steelslady Well-Known Member

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    I know! Not to mention, first they told LE the 14th- when did they tell them the 15th- the next day when LE came back? I understand mistakes happen and we're all human, but wow. Same clerk, I take it?
     
  8. kaen

    kaen Trying to be a good human.

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    If Mr. Dao did not make it off the mountain that first night, he would have probably died of exposure. He was planning to do a day summit and get on the red-eye that night. I doubt he had a sleeping bag or gear to protect him from the elements. He was experienced and probably knew where the campgrounds were but the snowpack was deep and potentially treacherous with the warming of the day making the snow slushy and back to icy in the night.

    The summit is at 14,508 feet, a 6000 vertical ft. elevation gain from the trail head, 22 miles round trip and a couple of river crossings. Anything could have happened---especially with the amount of snow still there--- including altitude sickness as Mr. Dao came from sea level.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  9. Suglo

    Suglo Well-Known Member

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    You have to have a permit to climb but there is no check in and check out system. You will encounter rangers along the way who ask for it or you may never encounter one. If you are caught climbing without one you will be fined a hefty fee.
     
  10. amymarie

    amymarie Well-Known Member

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    Oh, so it’s just for money. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t have a check in/check out system for something so dangerous.

    I also don’t understand people who try to do these climbs alone. Especially since he didn’t make it to the top the last time. I really wish he would have waited until his brothers were able to try with him again.
     
  11. Elliot_Alderson

    Elliot_Alderson Well-Known Idiot

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    Could LD's family file a lawsuit against the car rental place? Would a wrongful death suit be a stretch?
     
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  12. zecats

    zecats Well-Known Member

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    That's what I was thinking too. To go from his sea-level home to Vegas to the summit of Mt. Whitney in what, two days? Not much time planned for altitude acclamation. I can't even walk up steps when I'm at 14,000 ft elevation without becoming breathless. (Pikes Peak drive up and Mont Blanc gondola, so I did not climb.) You need some days to adjust, IMO.

    Flying from the east coast (on plane 5+ hours) and then driving from Vegas to Whitney Portal involves much sitting as well, and then to immediately begin a 6000 foot elevation climb. Seems he did make it to the top though, so whatever happened was on the way down.

    He likely was in a hurry to make a flight that was truly pressing his time limits. Poorly stacked cards all around, I'd say. Bad reporting from rental car agency surely didn't help, but I'm thinking he was in trouble from the beginning.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
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  13. zecats

    zecats Well-Known Member

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    You'd think they use it for tracking as well. Just as a precaution. Even a sign-in/sign-out system for safety measures.
     
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  14. kaen

    kaen Trying to be a good human.

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    This is an interesting article about the permit lottery and vast skill levels of hikers summiting Mt. Whitney. It is dangerous for inexperienced climbers. I would also venture that summiting alone is hazardous as many things can go wrong.

    Mount Whitney Has Turned Into an Overcrowded Catastrophe:

    “There are generally two kinds of peaks that have a lot of trouble,” says Dougald MacDonald, executive editor of the American Alpine Club. “One are technically difficult peaks, like Rainier, Denali, Grand Teton, where you have bad weather, crevasses, and climbing accidents where bad things happen or people make mistakes.”

    The other kind? “There’s this category of less technical mountains that attract hordes of people: Whitney, Shasta, Hood, the Colorado 14ers, New Hampshire’s Mount Washington,” MacDonald continues. “Most of those accidents are people falling on snow and not being able to stop themselves. On Whitney, people seem to get in over their heads. They get exhausted, they get trapped by bad weather, they stumble and fall.”

    I hope the window of finding Mr. Dao alive remains open....
     
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  15. j_in_c

    j_in_c Well-Known Member

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    There is a trail registry (from what I recall) with sign in/sign out. However, this is not even national park land and the hikers who visit this know that everything here is "at your own risk". There is barely funding for port a potties (in fact, they ask hikers to pack out their own waste).

    The permit system on Whitney is not so much about $$ but instead about keeping the trail safe by limiting the number of people on this extremely popular trail on any given day (I haven't priced it recently, but it was very inexpensive and/or free about 15 years ago). When I would go to the Sierra from sea level, we always tried to sleep at the trailhead at least one night to help acclimatize and get an early start, which I am guessing is what he did.

    Sadly, as lots of people who spend time in the outdoors know(especially if you are a "peak bagger"), the descent is the most dangerous part of a climb. The drive to get to the summit is gone, your body is tired and gravity is now working with you in a dangerous way. I hope he is found, but I fear that the window for a rescue vs recovery has already closed.
     
  16. kaen

    kaen Trying to be a good human.

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    This is the season for lottery permitting. The system is well laid out and not complicated, per se, but cumbersome. ( Inyo National Forest - Recreation Passes & Permits)

    With the amount of snow this winter/spring, the climbers were notified that snow may exist on the trails until July (good for California, but tricky for anyone with less experience).
     
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  17. Steelslady

    Steelslady Well-Known Member

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    That would be tough to prove, though.

    Since we don't know what happened to Ling and when it happened, they can't say that it was the car rental error that caused anything medical to happen. For instance, if he fell and hit his head on ice and went unconscious, or had a heart attack or stroke and died right after, it wouldn't have anything to do with him renting the car. A delay in finding him, yes, but not the cause of death, if he is in fact deceased.
     
  18. Elliot_Alderson

    Elliot_Alderson Well-Known Idiot

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    Thank you, that makes sense.
     
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  19. Steelslady

    Steelslady Well-Known Member

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    You're welcome! I also hate to say this, but, unfortunately, there is danger in doing these hikes, especially alone. Forget the snow and ice, anything can happen. As others mentioned, Ling didn't have much time to shake off jet lag. Maybe it contributed to what happened to him, maybe it didn't. Even the most strongest and fit athlete can have accidents or die from heart attacks or strokes, if proper medical attention isn't given right away. Look at Jim Fixx- a famous runner- he died of a heart attack on his morning run. Bob Harper, trainer of The Biggest Loser, who is also a vegan and health nut- he had a heart attack.

    It makes me nervous when people attempt hikes like this alone, prepared or not isn't the point. What good is a sleeping bag, freeze dried food, water, etc if you fall, hit your head and lose consciousness? Or if you have a heart attack or stroke and can't call for help. Plus sprains, fractures, broken bones.

    Ling's hike unfortunately didn't have a sign in area at checkpoints, but even then, those aren't a guarantee of location of a person. For instance, we have the Appalachian Trail not too far from us that goes up and down the east coast. Many folks love to do this trail and bring their bikes, camping gear, etc. They have checking points to sign in, which is great in most cases to try and pinpoint their last location. One lady disappeared years ago and somehow survived 26 days: Hiker who went missing on Appalachian trail survived 26 days before dying. Previous articles mentioned that her and her friend had signed in- Gerry's name on the trail was "Inchworm". However, she went way off course, when she had to go to the bathroom. She wasn't found for over two years.

    So I think of Gerry, an experienced hiker herself, and how easy it is for someone with years of experience to get lost.
     
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  20. kaen

    kaen Trying to be a good human.

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    I like the idea to think of Gerry and the ease of getting lost. Today, it makes sense that people who are going up mountains or on long trails carry a PLB or satellite messenger. For about 300 dollars a lone or lost person could be saved if they have people who know their route and timing.
     
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