Found Deceased Spain - Esther Dingley, from UK, missing in the Pyrenees, November 2020 #6

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

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  1. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    IMO from the Pic, ED returned to the Cabane de Besurtas, exactly as she had done the day before. She'd have climbed up to the PdelaG the next day, arriving at dusk. This comports with LE's statement that there was no evidence ED had ever been to the RdeV (though by the time LE checked it, it almost certainly had become contaminated). It also jibes with the order of the trip she outlined to DC. First on that list was PdelaG. IMO it was a longer and more difficult trail than she anticipated, she reached there in dying light, and did not plan on the dangerously steep scree slope extending beneath her feet at the PdelaG.
    As I mentioned upthread, the vast majority of mountain accidents are on the descent. This would exactly be the case in this scenario—topped off with fatigue, sore muscles, likely dehydration, chill as the sun lowered and as the base layer became damp with sweat from the exertion, damp turning to a thin layer of ice on the surface of everything... Recipe for catastrophe.
     
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  2. OEJ-JEO

    OEJ-JEO Well-Known Member

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    There are two important differences though. On the 21st, she was at the Pic de Sauvegarde early in the afternoon, and there's no sign of her pack in her Instagram pictures. On the 22nd she was at the Pic later in the day with a heavy pack. To me that suggests a difference of intent on the two days. On the 22nd she was equipped to travel onwards, and I'm not sure that she had enough daylight to return to Besurta.
     
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  3. RickshawFan

    RickshawFan Verified Outdoor Recreation Specialist

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    We don't know if the pack wasn't simply out of sight on the first day at the Pic. She could have left it at the Port. She could have simply taken it off. Regardless, the stuff had to be somewhere, and we know she went down to the Cabane on Pic night #1, so there must have been a pack with exactly the same stuff as on Pic day #2. (The only difference normally might be a food re-supply, but she evidently was not a big fan of food on backpacking trips).So, I don't put any stock in the idea she didn't have a pack with her in a photo on Day #1.
    As for returning to the Cabane for the night after the Pic #2. Having done it once, it would be waaaay easier to do it again. It might not have taken her long at all.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
  4. badgersmythe

    badgersmythe Well-Known Member

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  5. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    This is actually nothing new. Police said from the beginning that they could not rule anything out until she is found, however, accident is most likely.

    Interesting that the article omits crucial info about her planned route.

    "'To find out what may have happened — whether it was an accidental thesis, or a criminal thesis, because we are not closing the door to any hypothesis.'"
    ...

    Specialist teams in France and Spain are continuing the search for other remains and Esther's kit in the mountainous border region.
    ...

    Colegate has expressed disbelief at the theory that Esther may have died after becoming injured during her solo hike as she was an experienced hiker who should have had no problem with the route she is believed to have taken.
    ...

    In her last known message, sent to Colegate on November 22, Esther wrote: 'Might dip into France. Hoping Refuge Venasque has a winter room. Keep you posted when can. Love you xxx'
    Tragic British hiker Esther Dingley may have been MURDERED, French police admit for the first time | Daily Mail Online

    Actual Last Known Message:

    “Still in the same area. Tomorrow heading for Port de le Glere or something spelt like that. Might dip into France. Hoping Refuge Venasque has a winter room. Keep you posted when can xx” “Love you xxx”

    Ref: Dossier
     
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  6. IrisElizabeth

    IrisElizabeth Well-Known Member

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    The police are rightly still keeping an open mind as to what happened, but that doesn't stop the media sensationalism with the word MURDERED in the headline. I still think suicide in a deliberately hard to find place. Time will tell I suppose, or maybe not - she may have chosen a place that will never be found except perhaps by chance in 50 years time.

    If she was murdered elsewhere though and the murderer returned to plant the bones near where everyone thought she would be then DC is tragically wasting his time with his painstaking search of the mountains.
     
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  7. Lucy6226

    Lucy6226 Well-Known Member

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  8. OEJ-JEO

    OEJ-JEO Well-Known Member

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    That's true.

    Still, I wouldn't hike to a peak with a heavy pack late in the day if I were planning to return to my starting point. That doesn't rule out an unplanned descent, of course, but it still seems more likely to me that Esther was planning to sleep above the treeline on the night of the 22nd, and the obvious place would be the Refuge de Venasque.
     
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  9. Hexe

    Hexe Well-Known Member

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    Or she bivouaced somewhere on the route to the Port de la Glere. And if she started the next day cold and hungry it might have contributed mightly to an unfortunate accident, or to going off the trail by mistake.
     
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  10. OEJ-JEO

    OEJ-JEO Well-Known Member

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    The thing is that she should have had ample time to reach the Refuge de Venasque from her last known contact point, and having reached it should have had time to complete any reasonble onward route to the Port de la Glère the following day. So there would have been no need to press on beyond the refuge that night. She'd hoped that the winter room there would be open, and it was.
     
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  11. touch

    touch Active Member

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    Thanks for posting that. Unrelated to the point you were making but it's worth noting here that she explicitly states that she is navigating by map. Not using a phone screen or GPS device for navigation.
     
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  12. OEJ-JEO

    OEJ-JEO Well-Known Member

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    A map could be on a phone screen, of course. She says nothing explicit about the format of the map in question.

    I did find a picture of ED with what looked a lot like a map case in the rear pocket of her pack on a previous trip, but I can't find it now.
     
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  13. Grouse

    Grouse Well-Known Member

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    RSBM - I would say that scenario is looking less likely now though with the discovery of the bone at P de la G.
     
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  14. ZaZara

    ZaZara AstraZaZara

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    You read it here first:

     
  15. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    Sure, but would you leave all of your equipment unattended at the deserted Cabane de la Basurta, which is near a road? I wouldn't leave all my equipment at an unattended Cabane for a few minutes of wifi at the top of a Pyrenees Mountain. Surely Esther Dingley - always prepared per her partner - would not leave food, tent, wifi battery, et cetera at the bottom of the mountain while she ascended a 2400 meter summit under any circumstances. Can't have it both ways - uber prepared or left her equipment behind one day.

    She said that she was still in the same area and on the following day she intended to hike the Port de la Glere trail that was well within the perimeter of Pic de Sauvegarde, Cabane de la Basurta and Hospital de Benasque. If she left the Cabane de la Basurta at 10AM, she would have been nearing the Port de la Glere after noon. That was well within the plan to perhaps dip into France and overnight in the Winter Room at Refuge de Venasque.

    Let's not forget all the early talk of Esther Dingley wanting to bivouac, or sleep open in the mountains under the stars. Leaving Pic de Sauvegarde and attempting to bivouac between Port de Venasque and Port de la Glere is a possibility - following animal trails, as she had done 2 days earlier and in the past.
     
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  16. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    She had ample time to reach many known locations within a couple of hours of 10 am the following day.

    There are two routes to Port de la Glere from Refuge de Venasque. No one knows which route she took.

    She was going to the Port de la Glere the following day, she thought she might dip into France, along with that thought was the question of whether Refuge de Venasque has a Winter Room.

    Esther had wifi. We knew within minutes that Refuge de Venasaque had a Winter Room. Why didn't Esther know this basic information?
     
  17. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    Saw that. Esther with paper maps. Questionable candle light for studying maps on a different trip with Dan.

    This route was suggested by someone that she met on November 19. She was last heard from on November 22. This was not a planned hike.

    I doubt that she had a printer in her van, but perhaps she did. Still, the maps would be 8.5 x 11 format, not a real map.

    I highly doubt that she had a proper topo map of the area before she trusted a complete stranger and wandered into the Pyrenees in late November to tackle a difficult trail with late afternoon shale no matter how you look at it (ascending/descending).
     
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  18. Grouse

    Grouse Well-Known Member

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    RSBM - exactly what I've been thinking amid discussion of whether she had her pack or not. No way I would leave my kit either, and nor do I believe ED would - she had made many,many of these hikes/climbs before carrying full kit.

    When I get to the top of a peak I pretty much always take my rucksack off then while admiring the view and taking photos (but it doesn't go out of my sight).

    I think this notion may have stemmed from the comment the skier made that her pack looked heavy?
     
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  19. OEJ-JEO

    OEJ-JEO Well-Known Member

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    I would certainly stash a portion of my gear if I were planning an up-and-back daytrip and if I could find a suitable spot. A suitable spot wouldn't be an unattended roadside cabane, and there are all kinds of reasons why ED might have chosen to carry all her food and equipment with her at all times, not least the security of her stuff. It still seems to me though, that heading up the mountain late in the day with food and equipment for several days doesn't suggest a plan to return to the same point that evening. I suppose we can't rule it out though.

    I also think it's a possibility, but she had been using a number of refuges in the days before her disappearance, and she did explicitly mention the winter room of the refuge de venasque.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2021
  20. OEJ-JEO

    OEJ-JEO Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I wonder that as well. Any ideas?
     
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