Discussion in 'Missing Persons Discussion' started by FrostOwl, Nov 29, 2020.
Unless it was someone she had met before, and trusted, and they pushed her into the lake.
She had 1.5 hrs befor darkness to go wherever she wanted to go. If she did not go to the Refuge, but in another direction, she had her tent that she could pitch wherever she needed it. The tent has not been found.
Since the tent has not been found, either she did not get a chance to pitch it, or she stayed somewhere in the tent, or where she did not need it (another refuge?) and left the next day.
IMO the SAR and the helicopter would have spotted the tent. They didn't. Network in the area is good at many places, and no one has seen Esther after Marti del Vigo met her on the Salvaguardia and Dan had contact with her from the top. Since the, her phone has not been active.
The Refuge de Venasque is a location of outstanding beauty, weather allowing. IMO ED would have loved to go there. Yoga comes to mind But the SAR dog found no trace of here there.
You said, and I agree:
IMO most likely something happened to her between the top of the Salvaguardia and the Refuge that prevented her from using her tent and her phone.
Eek. My first post after a couple of years of lurking!
The hiker Esther met on the 19th November (I think) - it's just about conceivable that he might not have read news etc. (and the other explanations suggested upthread), but hikers tend to let people know where they are, when they are expected to arrive at a given place and so on. Especially solo hikers. Those people at home - the points of contact for someone hiking in the mountains - would almost certainly have seen the news reports by now and given the relatively small number of people hiking at this time of year, realised that their friend could be 'the unknown hiker,' and let them know about Esther.
Even if he is absolutely nothing to do with Esther's disappearance, it does seem odd that he hasn't come forward yet. Or perhaps he has, and the police are not willing to share the fact. Could he request that they say nothing about him to the press, for fear that he will immediately have a great deal of press attention and all the theories and unfounded accusations that may come with it? Or is he avoiding saying anything to the police for that very reason, believing he has nothing to add to the investigation? Which brings me back again to the other people in his life who 'know' he is the mystery hiker - will they all stay just as quiet about it?
The timelines seem to take him out of the equation in terms of Esther's last known contact, but the radio silence on him/from him keeps scratching away in the back of my mind.
Missing Esther Dingley's secrets, by the last man to see her alive | Daily Mail Online
I haven't looked at the terrain maps, but I was wondering if she fell down a slope towards one of the lakes, would she most likely end up in the deep part of the lake, or just at the edge of the lake. I would think she would lose stuff during a big fall, like her walking sticks before she came to a stop. Also if she went to the edge of a body of water to get water, wouldn't she take off her backpack and walking sticks first-so they would be at the edge of the lake even if she fell in?
If it was cold, would her body be preserved in the lake until spring?
If it were me, I wouldn't waste daylight to stop and send a photo. I would wait until I was settled in for the night.
It would be so easy for something to go wrong, hiking solo in the mountains as it was getting dark. Something as simple as going a bit off trail for a bio break. It would be easy to get turned around and lose the trail, or think you were actually back on the trail and continue confidently hiking in the wrong direction. A simple step on an unexpected loose rock could cause a fall. Even experienced hikers have succumbed to dehydration and hypothermia. It just takes one poor decision to get into trouble.
The DM article refers to Mr Ballarin , an experienced hiker, and his grandson. I'm curious about the age of the grandson who might be a young teen/adult, when considering Mr B is 70. There's no mention of the police speaking to him though. For some time it was reported that the Olympic skier was the last person to see her alive. Now it''s Mr Ballarin and his grandson and it's taken 18 days to be reported.
The other curiosity is that the Benasque mayor had said there were 7 or 8 fatalities a year in the mountains. So we can only imagine how many serious accidents. Though a poster did give some figures further back. Why is this situation (I acknowledge Esther's life and safety is of the utmost importance) creating so much interest other than being British, to the point that DC has needed to have his own representation. When they are in fact living in France.
So what other pieces of this situation are missing.
But she didn't know whether she would have phone reception at the refuge. Seems perfectly reasonable to send her partner an "I made it to the top!" message, while she could.
Good points about the sticks and the backpack.
If this link works correctly it should show the view from near to the refuge, facing back toward Pic de Sauvegarde which I'm pretty sure is the peak to the right. You can see a smaller lake in the foreground and then further away you can just see the larger lake at the base of the mountain.
If you zoom in a bit towards that lake, the sides seem to very steep in places and consisting of loose scree. It also looks like a section of the path cuts right through one such steep section, above and just to the left of the further lake.
How the LE can say it's not conceivable that she fell in a lake is baffling to me.
I'm confused. The Ballarin encounter was on 21st and the Olympic skier one on the 22nd. How on earth have they now managed to come up with a headline saying Mr Ballarin was the last person to see her alive?
Because it gets more clicks and earns them a few pennies. Case closed.
Indeed. It's bad even by their standards though.
I’m going to try to muse on “window of opportunity” without going too far into what does that phrase actually mean.
Whatever I think about some and various media sources and how they report events, most/all/several report Esther as being seen - in person - on a trail heading up Salvaguardia at around 3pm on November 22nd.
Most/several/all reports have last “contact” not-in-person at around 4-5pm November 22nd from or near Salvaguardia peak.
Esther has not been seen or heard from since. She was reported missing November 25th.
So, IMO, the “window of opportunity” for her going missing is sometime after ~3pm November 22 and before whatever time the MP call was made Nov. 25th.
So, that’s up to 3 days, but in my speculative opinion could/can be narrowed down much further to her having some sort of accident (in the vicinity of Salvaguardia trail to Refuge de Venasque and/or surrounding areas including lakes) in the 12 hours following last sighting and/or last communication.
JMO, speculation, etc.
Treading carefully: I’ve sent off a couple or three emails asking for clarification/elucidation on some media reports.
If/when (I’m not holding my breath) I get any responses, I’ll run them by a mod before posting.
I have a very low success rate with asking media/LE sources for clarification on what they put out publicly, but occasionally it works.
Hey, it’s always worth a try.
That makes sense - 90 minutes for her to vanish between Pic de Sauvegarde and Refugio de Venasque. It's a steep trek down the mountain using switchbacks and the trail passes near one of the deep lakes. If she deviated from the trail or encountered something like black ice, she could be in trouble in seconds.
Just a thought - but large backpacks for mountain hikes should have quick release fasteners for the waist and shoulder straps. That way, if someone ends up in the water, they at least have a chance to swim up without the struggle of removing the backpack in the water. IRRC, Michel Trudeau drowned trying to get out of his backpack in the lake after sliding down the mountain.
Esther Dingley: Police believe missing British hiker went missing voluntarily | Daily Mail Online
Yet another DM update - rehashing various others. The only couple of bits that interest me are:
1.Maria-Carmen told MailOnline: ‘Esther wanted to buy a packet of Chia seeds which were discounted. But you only get the discount if you have the Eroski loyalty card.
‘The girl at the till tried to explain this to her but she not understand because she did not speak Spanish.
‘So the girl called me and I came to explain this to her. She said that didn’t matter and bought the seeds any way. We didn’t have a long chat because I was on my way to work but she seemed a sad, thoughtful.’
Sources close to the case insist the person pictured in the Chausson van late at night was not Mr Colgate, with whom she has been travelling with for six years.
Spanish police have dismissed the sighting in the Spanish resort of Benasque, but Matt Searle, spokesman for Esther’s family and Mr Colgate, told MailOnline: ‘Daniel and Esther’s family are extremely interested to find out who was inside the camper with the lights on.'
‘We are investigating the sighting of someone inside the van on 2 December. They are asking the Guardia Civil to investigate who it was as well.’
Well, I think I would probably take a selfie just to show I'd got to the peak, and post it on to whatsapp - it only takes 30 secs to do all of that. But then I'd be anxious to be on my way. How much daylight was remaining ? Let's say 1 .5 hours worth? Enough to get to the refuge, but not enough to descend.. (I think I'm correct in saying that). I would definitely be heading to the refuge.
Vigo is quoted as saying “She was coming up, we were on the descent, she was very heavily loaded with a very big backpack.”
I think it is slightly odd to carry such a large backpack when climbing like that.. but again, I dont know what is considered normal.
I feel awful for Esther’s partner & family members who are not only having to deal with her disappearance, but also quite frankly downright fabulated sensationalist “reporting” .