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Thread: brother is missing

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    15

    Default brother is missing

    My brother Julian Wynne, English, 32 has not made contact with any one and we are worried. He climbed the Gokyo Ri area, and safely decended, this was around the 21st December. He had then planned to go to EBC. We (his family) do not know if he was on his own or had met up with other trekers. Julian has now not made any contact for almost 4 weeks.
    What I am wanting to know is are the weather conditions dangerous at this time? how safe would the route be? I know accidents are always possible, but generally speaking. I'm afraid I don't know the names of the areas on the way to EBC or the trail he would have taken, can any one shed any light on this? is 4 weeks too long to still be treking, or do many people trek for many more weeks in this area. Would the trek to EBC be frequented this time of year by many? if he had been ill or injured on the trail would he have been found by other trekers?
    The Embassy has been alerted, statements have been made to interpol. I would like to ask experienced trekers in this area, should we be acting to get the helicopter out at this stage?
    If anyone has recently returned from EBC did you see or meet up with Julian?
    Thanks
    Rachael

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    England
    Posts
    1,285

    Default Re: brother is missing

    As far as I have heard there has not been any bad weather recently in the Khumbu (Everest region), when I say bad weather I mean substantial amounts of snow. There can be big dumps of snow at any time of year and normally we hear about it as it makes trekking difficult when it happens.

    There are two ways (three really but one he is not very likely to have taken - so we'll discount for now) to Gokyo. First (and most likely) is the normal route. I suspect he went this way as he was talking about going to EBC next (the second route is to come from the EBC valley to Gokyo). He would have walked from and through Namche, Mong, Phortse Tenga, Dole, Machhermo, Gokyo. Afterwards if you want to go to EBC you can go back the way you came and then head up the EBC valley or cross the Cho La. The Cho La is a high pass (5350m) that is regularly crossed by trekkers. During winter though it can be treacherous and icy and may require crampons to negotiate. However it is crossed by people without crampons quite regularly, and most people have no problem with it. But like any high pass - conditions, experience, ability with altitude all play a part. It is not wise to cross a high pass without company. I would be very surprised if he attempted the pass on his own.

    There are a couple of sections on the trail to Gokyo where it can be icy and treacherous and more so in winter. The vast majority of people going that way have no issues other than having to go very gingerly along those specific sections (they are 10-20 yards long with ice on the trail but a steep drop to one side - to put it in perspective) . However there have been accidents, although they are very rare, along this section.

    There are many fewer trekkers trekking during winter than during the main trekking seasons (Oct-Nov/Mar/Apr/May), numbers can be very small (you might meet 10-20 others going the same way - sometimes less) and there are no big organised tours going through the area. Most people do hook up with other trekkers though, it is unusual to go alone and it is possible, even in December to find others to trek with. Either beforehand or during the trek. At least 3 people who post here have recently been in that area. Oli, Landfall and RRainey. On the whole if you are are ill or injured along the trail someone will find you. There are many lodges and people (locals as well as trekkers) walking the trails. But, there are places where, if you were to slip, you may slip away from the trail and not be seen. This becomes a problem if you are not trekking with someone as you will not be noticed as missing.

    It is unusual for someone to keep trekking that long, to be honest, in the same area. Some may do that but not many. There are internet cafes and phones in the Everest region so it is possible to keep in touch even if you are still trekking.

    It would be useful to know Julian's experience trekking and in the mountains. It might help us to assess what he may have taken on and how comfortable he sould be with winter conditions and solo travel.

    In some places some lodges have a book that you sign in to. There was a campaign a few years ago and certainly in 2005 (the last time I was in the Khumbu) there were visitors books at nearly all lodges. So it should be possible (with access to the books) to track his movements. This information may not be 100% though and not all lodges may be collecting it.

    My guess at advice would be to talk to a reputable agency/guide and see whether you can employ someone to go to the Khumbu and trek the Gokyo route and to try and gather information on the route he took. Perhaps a lodge owner in Gokyo will remember him and will know what route he was intending to take after Gokyo. That may narrow the search down a bit. I don't use a guide personally but many of the people here do and will be able to recommend someone you can speak to who can help you out.

    Good luck and fingers crossed for Julians safe return.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Escher

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    2,851

    Default Re: brother is missing

    Rachel, if it is ok, I will give these details to Santaman, my guide, to see if he or one of his guides or porter-guides has been in the area during that time. See if he can find out anything.

    Could you post a picture of Julian?
    Last edited by yakshaver; 15th January 2009 at 02:20 PM.
    yakshaver

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: brother is missing

    Thankyou for your advice and information. This was Julian's first treking trip, he did begin treking with a friend but they parted company (22nd Dec) after descending Gokyo Ri. Julian was possibly sighted with two Australian guys on the 22nd December. We have been in contact with his friend who has now returned to Kathmandu and he is also concerned for Julian's safety. We know that Julian has not signed out of the National Park. If any one can recommend a guide or suggest how i might contact one it would be appreciated.
    Thanks Rachael
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    402

    Default Re: brother is missing

    I believe OLI was in the Khumbu at this time! Oli?

    We flew out of Tumlingtar on Dec 22nd 2008 -- the first truly cloudy day in over 2 weeks -- on that flight we noted that there had been new snow higher up in the mountains (likely not a lot, possibly only a dusting).

    As Escher notes, there are a couple icy/slippery sections (in Dec) on the main trail below Gokyo (one, just below 1st lake, gave us trouble in Dec 2005) -- however, any fall here did not look like it would be a "major" fall (although it would be unpleasant and some injury could occur) and certainly anyone doing so would likely remain in full view of others coming by on the trail.

    On the other hand, a concern is that he went over Cho La alone.

    Anyone go over Cho La Dec 22 or later?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Culver City, CA
    Posts
    156

    Default Re: brother is missing

    Hi, I have a good memory for faces and I do not recall seeing your brother. I was in the Khumbu during that period.

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