Spain - Esther Dingley, from UK, missing in the Pyrenees, November 2020 #3

Discussion in 'Missing Persons Discussion' started by FrostOwl, Nov 29, 2020.

  1. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Snipped for focus.
    The views below the Pic were so spectacular, I could well imagine someone being on top and deciding on the spur of the moment to do something differently than they intended. Also, from above, one trail might instantly have seemed more appealing than another.
    There was no real reason not to do this. As in "Well, I planned to go over there where my left foot is, but now that I look at it, the route below my right foot looks more fun. Why not?"
     


  2. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    To better see the trail and ravine - I lightened the image. This is where she would have been on the morning of Nov 23.

    upload_2021-1-12_21-30-56.png
     
  3. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    I suppose they didn't search the lakes because they had limited time before the weather changed, and they were hoping to find her alive - so they used the time to search those areas that were risky, hoping to find her along those trails.
     
  4. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    I totally agree, and I was disappointed to see them in that context. In the posts where those very photos appeared here in WS, whether still available or not, they were always given citations, locations, and links. I am quite certain of this.
     
  5. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    I linked to the webpage - which is what is required for less than 5% use of published material. I'm fairly certain that publishing someone else's photos in a dossier requires photographer permission.
     
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  6. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Gosh, Otto, that route is scary as heck! However, it might not have looked intimidating on a map, especially if the map was more like a 2D plan of the sort we've seen. Even with contours, you've got to be able to read it; for instance, you have to figure that when the contours get super-tight (meaning a steep slope), whether the map is showing a ridge or a chasm. And is the trail going up or down? This takes practice!
    I suppose if you had a serious trail map (i.e. with contours) loaded onto a GPS, you'd maybe have a better clue, but IME the windows on a GPS are so small, it would be impossible to get enough clarity about the whole trail. Maybe the spot you're standing on, or a spot elsewhere, but the big picture, even for the section of trail you're in? I don't think a GPS window is big enough to be helpful. That's why the "10 essentials" calls for a paper map (and a compass), even if you have a GPS. A GPS doesn't work, either, if you're out of sight of the satellites, which is very easy to have happen in the mountains.
    Whew, that trail is freaky! However, if I didn't have the right orienteering tools, I very might well not know that until I was on it. And it might be too late to turn back.
    If I were cold, or moving slower than I calculated, or had a stomach ache, or my knee had become gimpy, or I was emotionally wrung out, or it's suddenly very damp because I'm in a chasm, or there's no good place to put a tent, or I became frightened, or my pack was heavy because it had a full re-supply, it would not be a good situation. I'd have wanted company, too, and maybe my phone isn't working...
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021
  7. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    GPS would be useless and, as someone mentioned upthread, GPS drains battery and data. Belgium has free wifi because it's a right, but what is the situation with the Pic de Sauvegarde wifi - gratis or paid? I think she needed a real topographic map to navigate those mountains.
     
  8. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    According to the dossier, she had a physical map and offline map tools, plus battery packs. That suggests that she didn't get lost, or accidentally off-trail.

    "For navigation Esther was carrying a physical map of the area which she had also photographed with her phone as a backup.

    Her phone also had the Maps.Me app installed which Esther is proficient at using for planning and assessing route distances and timings. This app also allows geolocation and uses maps downloaded to the phone so can be fully utilised without a mobile signal. This is the same app that Esther and Dan had used to navigate for portions of their 80-day summer hike in the Alps. Esther’s phone (and head torches) are supported by the 27600 mAh battery pack capable of recharging her phone fully up to five times.
    ...

    She would have been confident of the route, even without a map and a GPS enabled phone (both of which she had with her at the time)."​

    Link
     
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  9. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Yes. Your citations when you posted, Otto, were very correct. I'm not familiar with the 5% rule, or what would apply in the case of a "dossier", but "fair use" applied in the usage here, and all was cited and linked with every iota of persnickety-ness. The photos were so spectacular, too, how could a person not go out of their way to thank a photographer for providing such pleasure? Anyway, that was my thinking at the time.
    If only I could have been there on the day those photos were taken!
     
  10. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    Fair usage is 5 or 10% with proper references. A dossier is a document that has different rules than a website forum comment.

    The dossier should define the "loop" before referencing it. Dossiers are common and properly referenced documents. The Dossier for Esther Dingley should include photograph use permission and should be linked to her profile at the https://www.lbt.global/post/esther-dingley website.

    Perhaps one reason that the Dossier is not linked to her profile is because some content is "grabbed" rather than "requested."
     
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  11. Grouse

    Grouse Well-Known Member

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    That was my interpretation of the loop. It's also highlighted in green in the image on page 18 of the dossier and includes the descent from Sauvegarde on that one.
     
  12. Grouse

    Grouse Well-Known Member

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    Think that looks quite feasible though I think Nov 22 was Cabane de la Besurtas to Pic de Sauvegarde to Refuge de Venasque.
     
  13. CoverMeCagney

    CoverMeCagney Well-Known Member

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    Yes. She did not start at the Hospice de France. She set off from La Besurta on 22nd.

    It’s clear what the intended route was. It seems she was not known to wander off route. It’s likely, if she’s had an accident, that she will be somewhere near that loop route/trail.

    And yes Otto - I believe that map you posted shows the loop, an inverted U. The rest of the loop would comprise the road between HdeFrance and La Besurta, so she wasn’t doing a full circle.
     
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  14. stmarysmead

    stmarysmead Well-Known Member

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    If cell service was indeed good along the majority of her intended route...and she had sufficient chargers...and if it is true that she was in constant touch....then, doesn’t it follow that whatever happened to her, happened in that defined area where there was no service?

    Because surely, in three days time, at some point , she’d try her phone and she would know she could call or post or send a picture...and she’d communicate again.

    Was it logical for Dan to assume if she stayed on the route that she intended, that she would have no service anywhere for three days? Maybe so, but that is still one of the curious parts of this mystery to me.
     
  15. CoverMeCagney

    CoverMeCagney Well-Known Member

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    Dan said, from what he’s worked out, that Esther would’ve lost signal after they chatted. She also wouldn’t have any at the refuge, but should have reconnected when she set off the next morning.

    Obviously he didn’t know that at the time, and probably assumed she had no signal on that part of the loop. At some point though, he’d have started getting that sickening feeling that something might be wrong... and he will torment himself whether things might be different if he’d raised the alarm earlier. He wasn’t to know.
     
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  16. stmarysmead

    stmarysmead Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough.

    But reading thru his dossier, Esther is so careful, reliable, risk-adverse, predictable, and she prefers to keep in very frequent contact. She always lets them know her route.

    But NOW he knows that route actually DID have good cell service. Yet no calls, texts, social media.

    Either she didn’t get that far for some reason, or she was behaving quite out of her pattern and just not checking. Most of us who like frequent contact, would certainly be checking frequently to see if service improved.

    So shouldn’t we assume that whatever happened, happened quickly, and in that area where she could not make contact.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021
  17. CoverMeCagney

    CoverMeCagney Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I am assuming that too. As is Dan. As are the authorities.

    There wasn’t much time for Esther to reach anywhere else other than Refuge de Venasque that day. A return to La Besurta for the night is also possible time-wise, but perhaps police have already ruled that out.

    Maybe that last call to Dan made her decide to try and get back to the campervan ASAP and try to get home to him. Which leaves us with a hitchhike that went wrong.

    Realistically, we will have to wait a few more weeks for the weather to improve and searches to resume. Until that happens we’re at a bit of a crossroads.
     
  18. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    Snipped for focus
    I actually was very puzzled by this in the dossier, because it conflicts with ED's commonly stated encouragement of herself to "push [her] boundaries", which would mean exactly NOT doing what she'd be inclined to do.
    Hiking solo overnight in the backcountry, IMO, is not for the risk-averse, either.
    I also think, as a matter of generalities, that we can never know another person entirely. I could eat the same thing for breakfast every morning for a few years, the people who know me could probably swear on a stack of bibles that I was sure to eat the same breakfast and they were certain I must have done, but one day, without their knowledge, I might do the inconceivable (to them) and say, "Hell with that. I'm done with oatmeal. I'm having ice cream." No one else is me but me. No one gets to decide that they are 100% certain I'd never have ice cream for breakfast.
    FWIW for the first time ever, I had ice cream for breakfast once this summer.
     
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  19. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    She might have dropped the phone off a cliff by mistake. Anywhere. ED could also have had a non-fatal accident that didn't allow her to use the phone. Or the battery could have died (this was likely to happen regardless). This means an accident wouldn't have had to happen in an area where there was no cell service.
     
  20. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    If Esther arrived at the Refuge de Venasque, she should have left evidence that she was there. She was required to sign the attendance book and make a payment. Since there is no evidence that she was at the refuge, I think she must have had an accident between the Pic de Sauvegarde and the Refuge de Venasque.

    Looking at the dossier, it seems that whomever put the information together wants the focus to be on the trail from the Refuge to the Port de Glere.

    My question for her partner would be : does she follow the rules and sign-in, plus pay, at unmanned refuges? If it was her practice to stay without paying, that complicates the search.

    No wifi at the refuge at any time of year at the refuge, so I'm guessing that her partner expected her to be in wifi range again later on Nov 23 as she climbed higher. I think this narrows down where she can be found - narrowed down even more when it is confirmed that she used the honour system to sign-in and pay.

    "During unguarded periods, all of the FFCAM shelters keep an accessible and open part, “the winter refuge”, in order to play their role of shelter and relief.

    The use of the “winter” part has been modified in order to contribute to the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. To use this space, you must bring your sleeping bag, kitchen equipment, your masks and hand gel. Wearing a mask is mandatory, in this place and in the presence of several people, as well as respect for barrier gestures. An attendance book in the winter refuge is to be completed upon your arrival.

    You will be able to enjoy the FFCAM shelters in complete safety, without forgetting to pay for your overnight stay, which is essential to maintain the services offered."​


    upload_2021-1-13_14-14-8.png
    Accueil, Refuge de Vénasque
     
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