It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.  There is snow on the ground,  which complicates things, but unless he is injuried, he may have a fighting chance.;mc_eid=5738ba953d

The search for the Marine lieutenant missing in the California mountains for nearly two weeks is being scaled back to a "limited continuous search status" since rescuers have been unable to locate him along his planned route.


1st Lt. Matthew Kraft, 24, was reported missing to law enforcement after failing to make his return date while skiing and hiking the Sierra High Route in central California. His itinerary began Feb. 23 at the Kearsarge Pass trailhead and he was scheduled to finish around March 4 or 5 at Bridgeport, California, according to a press release from the 1st Marine Division.

Since then, multiple federal and local agencies have been searching throughout the mountains for Kraft, but have only been able to find his vehicle at a campground near Independence, Calif. Searching an area larger than the state of Rhode Island, rescue crews have faced significant challenges, including rough weather and high winds, and snow instability, the Division said.

In addition to searching on the ground, aircraft with thermal and night vision capability have also been deployed to the area, but they only found animal-related activity.

Now the interagency search effort that is looking for Kraft is shutting down its command post and ground search efforts are being suspended until the summer, said Sintia C. Kawasaki-Yee, a spokeswoman for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

"We are not presuming Mr. Kraft dead; we are merely scaling down search operations," Kawasaki-Yee told Task & Purpose.

With the command post closed, park rangers will "not be focused on this incident all day," she said, while flight crews will "keep this in the back of their mind" whenever they fly over the park area.


Kawasaki-Yee insisted that the search for Kraft is not over because ground search operations will resume in a couple of months.

"Our rangers and staff will continue to search," she said. "We are just waiting for the conditions to improve to be able to get more rangers out there safely in areas that we weren't able to search with ground crews at this time of year. As the snow begins to melt, as wilderness rangers begin to deploy out to the wilderness, they will also be searching for clues."

Kraft, an infantry officer with 1st Battalion, 7th Marines out of 29 Palms, California, has extensive survival training from the Marine Corps, a source familiar with the matter told Task & Purpose.

"The Marine Corps, along with the other assisting agencies, will continue to stand by and support Kraft's family, friends, and Marines during this difficult time," said 1st Marine Division spokesman Capt. Paul Gainey.

It is better that they do it imperfectly than that you do it perfectly. For it is their war and their country and your time here is limited.


                                                                                                                        —T. E. Lawrence




Original Post

Prayers out for the Marine.  At first I was guilty of "oh LT with Land Nav issues!"  Then I saw the timeframes...hopefully he's putting his training to good use and will come out ok.

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Hussar posted:

Prayers out for the Marine.  At first I was guilty of "oh LT with Land Nav issues!"  Then I saw the timeframes...hopefully he's putting his training to good use and will come out ok.

Yeah... that's a long time to be on your own in the mountains in bad conditions. 

“One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England,”  -George Orwell-

I wish I had better news.

A search and rescue team found "recent avalanche debris" when they reached about 8,000 feet, about 2 miles from the Kearsarge Trailhead during the initial search.  This about 2 miles from where  1LT Kraft started his trip.

https://abcnews.go <DOT> com/US/us-marine-lietenant-camp-pendleton-missing-10-day/story?id=61579694&


https://taskandpurpose <DOT> com/marine-corps-matthew-kraft-dead

Corps says Marine missing in California backcountry is most likely dead


First Lt. Matthew Kraft, who has been missing in the High Sierra backcountry for more than a month, likely has died after being "overcome by severe winter storms," the Marine Corps concluded Thursday, April 11.

 Kraft, an infantry Marine officer, disappeared in February after setting out on a planned 10-day, 195-mile trek along the Sierra High Route. Multiple law enforcement agencies have continued to search for clues to Kraft's whereabouts since he failed to show up at a pre-designated location by March 5.

"Given the timeline of events, severe weather, and increased avalanche activity in the search area, on-scene search and rescue experts have determined that Kraft was most likely overcome by severe weather and exposure," Capt. Paul Gainey, spokesman for the 1st Marine Division, said Thursday. "The Marine Corps will continue to stand by and support Kraft's family, friends, and Marines during this difficult time."

Kraft, 24, was serving with the 1st Battalion/7th Marines at Twentynine Palms and was based out of the 1st Marine Division headquartered at Camp Pendleton. He began the solo ski trip Feb. 23, notifying family and the Marine Corps in advance that he expected to arrive at Bridgeport on March 4 or 5. The Sierra High Route parallels the John Muir Trail, with elevations ranging from 9,000 to 11,500 feet.

The search for Kraft began March 4 when his father contacted the Mono County Sheriff's Office after not hearing from his son. A sheriff's team first looked for Kraft at trailheads in the Bridgeport area. Inyo County Sheriff's Search and Rescue began its search March 5.


According to plans Kraft submitted to the Marine Corps, he had intended to start out at the Kearsarge Pass and travel along the backcountry route. A rental vehicle he was using was found near Grays Meadows campground above Independence on March 8.

For more than a week, 13 agencies were involved in the massive search.

"All the Marines in 1st Lt. Matthew Kraft's chain of command grieve with his family," Gainey said. "We are heartbroken for the family and friends of 1st Lt. Kraft, and the command will do everything they can to help the family and friends of 1st Lt. Kraft."


©2019 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.








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“Governments may think and say as they like, but force cannot be eliminated, and it is the only real and unanswerable power. We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose.“   Lt. General Paul Carton de Wiart, British Army


I'd love to say, 'Never say Never,' and I want to believe that somehow, somewhere, 1LT. Kraft is surviving and making his way to safety.  

As someone who is currently in SAR and who spent a significant part of their youth in the Sierra high country, I have to be a realist.  The Sierra is breathtakingly beautiful, and never ceases to awe and comfort me.  That being said, it is also acutely intolerant of mistakes.  There are a million ways to die, and 999,999 of them seem to reside year round in the high country, but especially in winter, in a heavy snowfall year.

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