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Lost Hiker on Mt Holy Cross

Threads related to Colorado mountaineering accidents but please keep it civil and respectful. Friends and relatives of fallen climbers will be reading these posts.
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Please be respectful when posting - family and friends of fallen climbers might be reading this forum.
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Re: Lost Hiker on Mt Holy Cross

Postby Erik2 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:41 pm

Shaun, thanks for the additional info and input - really helpful. And Cathy, I truly appreciate and understand your concern for all who have looked for James this past year and those who continue to do so in the future. I know it would only multiply the pain for you, Christy, and the rest of James' family and friends if someone else got hurt while out looking for him.

Along those lines, I will be extremely careful, and completely agree with and will heed the advice of Shaun and others re: the ECC drainage. I plan to stay on or near the main trail the whole way up the valley, and will just systematically scan the CC/ECC confluence, ECC drainage, and CC itself every few hundred yards, just in case a view from a slightly different angle happens to reveal something that was concealed during the extensive previous searches that were completed. If there is anything of note, I'll tag the location and pass it along to the professionals for a closer look. And in the likely event that I don't see anything, it will be a beautiful hike that I deeply need after a hectic summer.

I'm still figuring out when I'll be able to clear my schedule enough to head up there, but will post at least a brief synopsis when I get back. Everybody stay safe out there.

Erik

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Re: Lost Hiker on Mt Holy Cross

Postby djkest » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:23 am

catlyoung wrote:I do not know anything regarding the camera that was found and if SAR was able to retrieve any photos from the card. My guess is that being exposed to the elements probably did the camera and card in so it is ulikely that any photos could be pulled off of it.

Do you happen to know the exact make/model of Jame's camera that he would have with him?

Based on what I know of flash memory cards, they are pretty durable and so it's possible, if it was dried completely before they attempted to recover, that some or all of the photos on the card would be retrievable.

However, being found near a creek, it may be possible that the camera was carried downstream by water? Or not. It does appear though that there is a lot of "junk" around that area, and not every clue found will be relevant to this case.
Life is a mountain, not a beach.
Exploring and Wine, my personal blog

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Re: Lost Hiker on Mt Holy Cross

Postby catlyoung » Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:44 pm

djkest wrote:
catlyoung wrote:I do not know anything regarding the camera that was found and if SAR was able to retrieve any photos from the card. My guess is that being exposed to the elements probably did the camera and card in so it is ulikely that any photos could be pulled off of it.

Do you happen to know the exact make/model of Jame's camera that he would have with him?

Based on what I know of flash memory cards, they are pretty durable and so it's possible, if it was dried completely before they attempted to recover, that some or all of the photos on the card would be retrievable.

However, being found near a creek, it may be possible that the camera was carried downstream by water? Or not. It does appear though that there is a lot of "junk" around that area, and not every clue found will be relevant to this case.



We think James had a Pentax Optio 540 camera with him which operates on 2 AA batteries. The photos that were retrieved from the found camera have been ruled out as belonging to James.

Thanks to all that alert SAR on anything that is found in the wilderness. It is comforting to know that people are still remembering my son and trying to help by letting SAR know about anything unusual they see or find in the wilderness. Thank you so much. All we have is hope and prayers to go on and the kindness of all that hike.
Cathy

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Re: Lost Hiker on Mt Holy Cross

Postby Erik2 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:12 pm

I managed to slip out of town for a quick overnight trip to Holy Cross wilderness last Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, so figured I'd post a summary in case anyone is tracking where folks have been this summer in the general area where James disappeared.

Most importantly: Cathy, I'm really sorry that I don't have better news, but unfortunately saw no sign of James. I scanned both sides of the trail throughout all three hikes and scanned most of East Cross Creek drainage from above during hike #3.

Did three hikes: (1) about 3.5 miles up Cross Creek from Cross Creek Trailhead (plus an extra 3.5 miles or so along Tigiwon road due to the closure), (2) about 1/2 mile past Fancy Pass from Fancy Lake trailhead, and (3) up Martin Creek trail from Minturn almost to the junction with Cross Creek Trail, directly across from the East Cross Creek drainage. As part of hikes 1 or 3 I had planned to hike up Cross Creek as far as Reeds Meadow or possibly even Harvey Lake so that I could see up the most obvious ascent routes into ECC from the Cross Creek trail, but didn't make it that far for reasons described in more detail below.

A few observations / safety notes:
1. It's an amazingly beautiful place with incredible views in every direction, but I have to admit that I hadn't fully appreciated the ruggedness of the terrain. It was easy to imagine how quickly one could get turned around if bushwacking or off the trail.

2. Signs of this year's deep snowpack and heavy runoff are everywhere, especially on the Cross Creek side of the wilderness (see note below about washed out bridge under hike #1 if you are thinking about heading up Cross Creek). Still lots of bugs, wildflowers over my head in places, and many sections of trail that are overgrown and hard to follow. The pic below shows a typical stretch of "trail" through one of the slightly less overgrown meadows along Martin Creek, and the grass / flowers were 3 - 4 X taller in many places. I was very glad that I had my GPS along just in case I lost the trail and needed to backtrack, and trekking poles helped a lot by making it easier to push aside the tall grass enough to confirm that I was indeed on the trail (and to avoid stepping in any hidden holes, etc.).

Martin_creek.jpg
Martin_creek.jpg (131.5 KiB) Viewed 1508 times


3. It's a good idea to stay alert when hiking through the areas of beetle-killed trees. Despite a nice day with winds that never got stronger than about 15 mph max, I saw one large tree fall and heard another come down within an hour of the first, both within 50 yards of the trail. This is the first time I've ever witnessed a tree falling in person in several hundred days of hiking in Colorado. Maybe just the law of averages catching up with me, but it definitely got my attention.

4. And finally, just for what its worth: In light of the elevation gain required to cross the passes, the extremely difficult terrain and trail conditions at several points along his route, and most importantly, the lack of sightings after Lake Constantine (or perhaps HC City if the search dog was right), my own gut feeling (and obviously nothing more than that) is consistent with the thoughts of Shaun, Bill, and others. It seems most likely that he ran into trouble closer to the beginning of his route, and didn't make it to the Cross Creek side of the wilderness.

Additional details about the hiking routes for anyone who is interested:

Hike #1: Cross Creek trail: At least on the day I was up there (last Thursday 8/18) Tigiwon was closed about 1/4 mile from 91, which adds about 3.5 miles round trip to any hike up Cross Creek. In addition, the runoff has washed out the bridge over Cross Creek about a mile in from the trailhead (they were in the process of reconstruction when I passed through, so hopefully it may be in place again soon). The stream flow is not too bad at this point in the summer, but it still was not trivial to find a place to safely cross, especially when coming back in the late afternoon after the remaining snow had been melting all day up high. Due to a slightly delayed start from home and the extra time spent on those two issues, I realized early in the hike that I couldn't make it to Reeds Meadow with sufficient daylight remaining to get out safely before dark (and since I was by myself I was more than a little paranoid about losing the overgrown trail in fading light and having an epic bushwacking experience). I ended up turning around about a mile past a little heart shaped lake that is almost directly north of Holy Cross, probably 3 1/2 miles or so in from Cross Creek Trailhead and about 5.5 miles from 91.

Hike #2: Fancy Pass at dusk on Thursday. I know this route has been searched extensively by SAR and others, and mostly just wanted to check it out for selfish reasons since I had a few hours of daylight left. I always wondered if it would be possible to follow HC ridge all the way from the pass to the top of MHC, but this hike convinced me that this probably isn't realistic (at least for me). Light was getting fairly low during the second half of the hike, but I did scan around as much as I could and didn't see anything. In addition to the areas right along the trail, I also scanned most of the first mile or so of the rugged little box canyon where Fancy Creek flows out of Fancy Lake.

Hike #3: On Friday I decided to try one more time to get deeper into the Cross Creek drainage, but this time used an alternative approach via Martin Creek trail out of Minturn. This trail is nearly parallel to the Cross Creek trail but about 1,000 feet higher, so I thought it might have some decent views down into the ECC drainage. This turned out to be both correct and incorrect - the pic below shows the view from just a few yards off the trail about 3 miles in from the trailhead. A cool overview of the entire cirque from Notch mountain around Holy Cross Ridge to MHC, with clear views of most of the standard route and Angelica coulour. Unfortunately, from this angle trees blocked the view of the first few hundred vertical feet upward from Cross Creek into East Cross Creek drainage (the route that James planned to take). At the time I took the initial pics I wasn't too worried about this, because I figured that I'd get much better views of that terrain as I got down closer to Cross Creek trail.

HC_from_Martin_creek.jpg
HC_from_Martin_creek.jpg (134.24 KiB) Viewed 1508 times


After about 6 miles the Martin Creek trail ends at a signed junction for the Grouse Mountain trail, and the left fork at the junction heads down about a mile to join Cross Creek trail. This section of trail was initially well-defined, then became more and more overgrown as it passed through a series of small meadows, finally heading back into the trees about a half mile before and maybe 400 feet above the junction with the Cross Creek trail. Just after it enters the trees the trail crosses a small gully that funnels runoff from a large area of terrain above the trail. The heavy spring runoff had clearly moved a lot of large trees around and down the mountain, and the trail disappeared into a jumbled mess of somewhat unstable deadfall at this point. I tried several routes through this section and was unable to find the trail emerging on the other side, so went back to the middle of the deadfall and stopped to check my GPS again. I'm sure that the trail would eventually have been obvious if I had made a few more attempts, but as I was looking down at my GPS I shifted my foot slightly for better balance, and in the process somehow poked a hole in a nest of yellowjackets.

Before I left home I thought I had prepared for most potential contingencies, but have to admit that this one wasn't on my list. I apologize if any of you were down in the valley below me at that moment, because I think I invented about a dozen new curse words during the 15 seconds it took to get away from the nest and back into the previous meadow. Once back into the clearing I looked back and realized that despite getting stung 8 - 10 times, I was actually really lucky, as there was a huge cloud of bees about ten feet across buzzing around the area of the nest. While I definitely don't plan to have this experience again anytime soon, the swarm was actually a pretty amazing thing to see firsthand (and I suppose I can't really blame them, since I did stomp on their house...). In any event, they fortunately just seemed to want me to get away from the nest, and didn't show any interest in following me once I was out of the immediate vicinity.

After the adrenaline subsided, a younger version of myself probably would have bushwacked a bit to explore alternate routes above or below the washed out section of the trail. However, as a result of either a distinct lack of courage and mettle or too many years of accrued wisdom, I decided that this was the end of the road for me that day. I'm still hoping to get back up one more time before the snow comes to stay, but plan to head to the other side to climb Whitney and/or Notch Mtn from the parking below Holy Cross City that Shaun described in his reports this summer.

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Re: Lost Hiker on Mt Holy Cross

Postby Erik2 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:36 pm

Just in case others are interested in the Martin Creek trail as an alternative to Cross Creek during the Tigiwon closure (or simply want a chance to wrestle some angry bees), thought I'd post a bit of beta re: the somewhat obscure trailhead. Although the trail is clearly marked on most maps, I didn't see a single sign in town indicating the location of the trailhead, and ended up wasting quite a bit of time wandering around just after dawn before I finally spotted it.

It's about 2.3 miles from the exit ramp of I-70, near the south end of Minturn. You will pass the Battle Mountain Trading Post on the right, then turn right between a "do not pass" sign and a blue house onto an unlikely looking dirt road (pic below).

road.jpg
road.jpg (128.29 KiB) Viewed 1397 times


About 100 yards up this road is an open area that may be an informal parking area for the trail, but it wasn't clearly marked and is definitely surrounded by private land. Because it was too early to ask anyone the day I was there, I was worried I'd return to a towed car and hefty fine, so went back and parked along the highway in town and walked in.

Once you are in the open area, the signed trailhead is about 100 yards up the hill to the left (left side of pic). You don't want the faint trail that heads directly up the hill from the parking area (right side of pic).

Martin_creek_thead.jpg
Martin_creek_thead.jpg (128.77 KiB) Viewed 1408 times


Once you find the trailhead, the trail itself is reasonably straightforward other than the overgrowth in some of the meadows described in the previous post (the flowers and plants are especially high in the first mile or so, but it gets much better as the trail gains elevation). The one place I got a bit confused was at an old cabin about 3 miles in from Minturn (pic below).

Martin_creek_cabin.jpg
Martin_creek_cabin.jpg (142.3 KiB) Viewed 1406 times


Between about the 1 mile mark and the cabin the trail is an old jeep road that is about ten feet wide and nearly impossible to lose, then the trail seems to simply end at the cabin (probably because the cabin really was the end of the road when it was still in use long ago). However, a much more faint trail continues past the cabin (around the left side in the picture) and through the trees into the next meadow - this new trail should be fairly obvious once you find it, and becomes especially clear after you fight through another 200 yards or so of tall plants just past the cabin.

The trail is then really nice the rest of the way to the clearly marked Grouse Mountain trail junction 6 miles in. As noted in my previous post, the next confusing section occurs about a half mile after the trail starts to drop down toward Cross Creek, and I unfortunately don't have any information about the last set of switchbacks over the final 400 vertical feet down to the Cross Creek trail and Cross Creek/East Cross Creek confluence.

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Re: Lost Hiker on Mt Holy Cross

Postby catlyoung » Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:32 pm

Erik2 wrote:I managed to slip out of town for a quick overnight trip to Holy Cross wilderness last Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, so figured I'd post a summary in case anyone is tracking where folks have been this summer in the general area where James disappeared.

Most importantly: Cathy, I'm really sorry that I don't have better news, but unfortunately saw no sign of James. I scanned both sides of the trail throughout all three hikes and scanned most of East Cross Creek drainage from above during hike #3.

Did three hikes: (1) about 3.5 miles up Cross Creek from Cross Creek Trailhead (plus an extra 3.5 miles or so along Tigiwon road due to the closure), (2) about 1/2 mile past Fancy Pass from Fancy Lake trailhead, and (3) up Martin Creek trail from Minturn almost to the junction with Cross Creek Trail, directly across from the East Cross Creek drainage. As part of hikes 1 or 3 I had planned to hike up Cross Creek as far as Reeds Meadow or possibly even Harvey Lake so that I could see up the most obvious ascent routes into ECC from the Cross Creek trail, but didn't make it that far for reasons described in more detail below.

A few observations / safety notes:
1. It's an amazingly beautiful place with incredible views in every direction, but I have to admit that I hadn't fully appreciated the ruggedness of the terrain. It was easy to imagine how quickly one could get turned around if bushwacking or off the trail.

2. Signs of this year's deep snowpack and heavy runoff are everywhere, especially on the Cross Creek side of the wilderness (see note below about washed out bridge under hike #1 if you are thinking about heading up Cross Creek). Still lots of bugs, wildflowers over my head in places, and many sections of trail that are overgrown and hard to follow. The pic below shows a typical stretch of "trail" through one of the slightly less overgrown meadows along Martin Creek, and the grass / flowers were 3 - 4 X taller in many places. I was very glad that I had my GPS along just in case I lost the trail and needed to backtrack, and trekking poles helped a lot by making it easier to push aside the tall grass enough to confirm that I was indeed on the trail (and to avoid stepping in any hidden holes, etc.).

Martin_creek.jpg


3. It's a good idea to stay alert when hiking through the areas of beetle-killed trees. Despite a nice day with winds that never got stronger than about 15 mph max, I saw one large tree fall and heard another come down within an hour of the first, both within 50 yards of the trail. This is the first time I've ever witnessed a tree falling in person in several hundred days of hiking in Colorado. Maybe just the law of averages catching up with me, but it definitely got my attention.

4. And finally, just for what its worth: In light of the elevation gain required to cross the passes, the extremely difficult terrain and trail conditions at several points along his route, and most importantly, the lack of sightings after Lake Constantine (or perhaps HC City if the search dog was right), my own gut feeling (and obviously nothing more than that) is consistent with the thoughts of Shaun, Bill, and others. It seems most likely that he ran into trouble closer to the beginning of his route, and didn't make it to the Cross Creek side of the wilderness.

Additional details about the hiking routes for anyone who is interested:

Hike #1: Cross Creek trail: At least on the day I was up there (last Thursday 8/18) Tigiwon was closed about 1/4 mile from 91, which adds about 3.5 miles round trip to any hike up Cross Creek. In addition, the runoff has washed out the bridge over Cross Creek about a mile in from the trailhead (they were in the process of reconstruction when I passed through, so hopefully it may be in place again soon). The stream flow is not too bad at this point in the summer, but it still was not trivial to find a place to safely cross, especially when coming back in the late afternoon after the remaining snow had been melting all day up high. Due to a slightly delayed start from home and the extra time spent on those two issues, I realized early in the hike that I couldn't make it to Reeds Meadow with sufficient daylight remaining to get out safely before dark (and since I was by myself I was more than a little paranoid about losing the overgrown trail in fading light and having an epic bushwacking experience). I ended up turning around about a mile past a little heart shaped lake that is almost directly north of Holy Cross, probably 3 1/2 miles or so in from Cross Creek Trailhead and about 5.5 miles from 91.

Hike #2: Fancy Pass at dusk on Thursday. I know this route has been searched extensively by SAR and others, and mostly just wanted to check it out for selfish reasons since I had a few hours of daylight left. I always wondered if it would be possible to follow HC ridge all the way from the pass to the top of MHC, but this hike convinced me that this probably isn't realistic (at least for me). Light was getting fairly low during the second half of the hike, but I did scan around as much as I could and didn't see anything. In addition to the areas right along the trail, I also scanned most of the first mile or so of the rugged little box canyon where Fancy Creek flows out of Fancy Lake.

Hike #3: On Friday I decided to try one more time to get deeper into the Cross Creek drainage, but this time used an alternative approach via Martin Creek trail out of Minturn. This trail is nearly parallel to the Cross Creek trail but about 1,000 feet higher, so I thought it might have some decent views down into the ECC drainage. This turned out to be both correct and incorrect - the pic below shows the view from just a few yards off the trail about 3 miles in from the trailhead. A cool overview of the entire cirque from Notch mountain around Holy Cross Ridge to MHC, with clear views of most of the standard route and Angelica coulour. Unfortunately, from this angle trees blocked the view of the first few hundred vertical feet upward from Cross Creek into East Cross Creek drainage (the route that James planned to take). At the time I took the initial pics I wasn't too worried about this, because I figured that I'd get much better views of that terrain as I got down closer to Cross Creek trail.

HC_from_Martin_creek.jpg


After about 6 miles the Martin Creek trail ends at a signed junction for the Grouse Mountain trail, and the left fork at the junction heads down about a mile to join Cross Creek trail. This section of trail was initially well-defined, then became more and more overgrown as it passed through a series of small meadows, finally heading back into the trees about a half mile before and maybe 400 feet above the junction with the Cross Creek trail. Just after it enters the trees the trail crosses a small gully that funnels runoff from a large area of terrain above the trail. The heavy spring runoff had clearly moved a lot of large trees around and down the mountain, and the trail disappeared into a jumbled mess of somewhat unstable deadfall at this point. I tried several routes through this section and was unable to find the trail emerging on the other side, so went back to the middle of the deadfall and stopped to check my GPS again. I'm sure that the trail would eventually have been obvious if I had made a few more attempts, but as I was looking down at my GPS I shifted my foot slightly for better balance, and in the process somehow poked a hole in a nest of yellowjackets.

Before I left home I thought I had prepared for most potential contingencies, but have to admit that this one wasn't on my list. I apologize if any of you were down in the valley below me at that moment, because I think I invented about a dozen new curse words during the 15 seconds it took to get away from the nest and back into the previous meadow. Once back into the clearing I looked back and realized that despite getting stung 8 - 10 times, I was actually really lucky, as there was a huge cloud of bees about ten feet across buzzing around the area of the nest. While I definitely don't plan to have this experience again anytime soon, the swarm was actually a pretty amazing thing to see firsthand (and I suppose I can't really blame them, since I did stomp on their house...). In any event, they fortunately just seemed to want me to get away from the nest, and didn't show any interest in following me once I was out of the immediate vicinity.

After the adrenaline subsided, a younger version of myself probably would have bushwacked a bit to explore alternate routes above or below the washed out section of the trail. However, as a result of either a distinct lack of courage and mettle or too many years of accrued wisdom, I decided that this was the end of the road for me that day. I'm still hoping to get back up one more time before the snow comes to stay, but plan to head to the other side to climb Whitney and/or Notch Mtn from the parking below Holy Cross City that Shaun described in his reports this summer.



Thank you Erik for all the searching you did and for staying safe. It sounds like it truely is very rugged out there. I so wish I knew where James got into trouble and where he could have gone to. Thanks for trying. Thank you all that have been looking for just some little clue to help us find some closure and resolution. I wish I could thank you all in person for all of your efforts, kindness, and caring. I still pray God will lead some climber/hiker to a clue or to my son's remains so we can find some peace.
Thank you again Erik for your efforts. God Bless you.
Cathy Nelson

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Re: Lost Hiker on Mt Holy Cross

Postby o_O » Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:48 pm

I contacted the Division of Wildlife to see if they would keep James in mind when talking with hunters. Here's the reply from Randy Hampton, Statewide Public Information Officer.

I'm going to forward your request to all of our wildlife officers,
volunteers and offices in the area surrounding the Holy Cross Wilderness
Area. We will ask them to be on the lookout and to ask hunters that they
contact to also be watchful. Hopefully this measure will put some extra
eyes on the ground in the search for Mr. Nelson's remains.

Regardless of the reasons that take someone into the amazing back
country of Colorado, we're all better off when we watch out for one
another.

Thanks again for contacting Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Good luck and
safe trails.


If anyone would like to prepare a brief summary of the details and provide a decent resolution picture or two I'll make a PDF to send to them that they may be able to print and display in their offices. Apologies if this exists, the thread is over 50 pages long. Suggested copy would also be welcome, PM me if you want.

My sincere condolences to James' family. I can't begin to imagine the anguish of another winter without knowing what happened. Hunters are very observant and travel mostly off trail so I hope they are able to bring some degree of closure.

-Simon

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Re: Lost Hiker on Mt Holy Cross

Postby jenren81 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:55 am

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/29278598/detail.html


Just came across this story about James on the channel 7 news site... good heads up for all the hunters headed out there. I copy and pasted below.


Hunters, Hikers Asked To Help Find Missing Man
James Nelson Disappeared In Holy Cross Wilderness Area Last October
Posted by Kim Nguyen, Web Editor

POSTED: 8:41 am MDT September 23, 2011
UPDATED: 9:20 am MDT September 23, 2011

VAIL, Colo. -- Colorado wildlife officials are asking hunters and hikers in and around the Holy Cross Wilderness area to be on the lookout for evidence that could help explain what happened to a man missing from the area since last fall.

James Nelson, 31, of Chicago, was dropped off at the Fall Creek trailhead on Oct. 3 at the start of a 25-mile hike into some of Colorado's most challenging terrain.

His fiancee planned to pick him up at the trailhead five days later, but he failed to appear.

No trace of Nelson was ever located, despite an intense four-day search with helicopters, search and rescue crews and trained dogs.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Vail Mountain Rescue Group are now asking hunters and hikers to be alert for discarded hiking equipment, an abandoned tent or possible human remains.

"Hunters head into off-trail areas that most hikers avoid," said Area Wildlife Manager Perry Will. "We're asking that they keep an eye peeled for evidence that could help bring closure to Mr. Nelson's family."

Dan Smith, of the Vail Mountain Rescue Group, said that trained search and rescue dogs appeared to pick up Nelson's scent off a trail near Lake Constantine on Nelson's planned route. A pair of hikers reported that they had seen a man matching Nelson's description on Oct. 3. Then he vanished.

"Even after the massive search, we did not find any of his hiking equipment, backpack, tent or his body," Smith said.

In recent years, hunters have helped solve several high-profile cases.

In 2007, a Colorado hunter found the body of an Alzheimer's patient that had been missing for a month, even after hundreds of people had searched for him. The hunter found the remains seven miles from the missing man's home in Cotopaxi.

Last year in Maine, a deer hunter discovered a missing 2-year-old girl who had been kidnapped and taken to a remote area by the suspect, her father. After recognizing the girl from television reports, the hunter rescued the little girl and convinced her father to turn himself in to authorities.

Although the search for Nelson is suspended, the Vail Mountain Rescue group and the Eagle County Sheriff's Office say they are prepared to follow up immediately on any new information they receive.

If hunters find abandoned clothing, backpacking equipment, camp gear or what appears to be human remains, Smith said they should avoid touching or moving it. He recommends that they photograph it, mark the exact location -- using GPS if available -- and let the local sheriff's office know as soon as possible by calling 911.

Nelson was the president of a Chicago area hiking club, and was known as an experienced hiker. His friends and family report that before he left on his trip, he was prepared and followed many of the recommended rules of hiking in the back country. He packed the necessary supplies and he was careful to let several people know where he was planning to hike by mapping his route, which would take him over several of the areas tallest peaks including one of Colorado's most well known fourteeners, the rugged Mount of the Holy Cross.

Nelson, who went by the nickname "JB", wore a mustache and a goatee. He was last seen wearing an orange long-sleeve shirt, khaki slacks and brown hiking boots. He may have also been wearing wire-rimmed glasses or sunglasses, possibly a black or green jacket and rust-colored, knit stocking cap. His equipment included a red backpack, Diamond Back hiking poles, Asolo boots, Delorme NP-40 GPS unit and a gray and yellow single-person tent.

"He knew what he was doing, and we can only imagine that he had an accident of some kind," said his father, Jim Nelson. "We just ask people that if they see anything while hunting, or remember anything from last year, to please let us know."

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Re: Lost Hiker on Mt Holy Cross

Postby o_O » Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:35 am

Looks like they decided to run it in the email newsletter "DOW Insider" and other channels picked it up. Did James' father also contact them or is this a mix up on their part? Initially the DOW said they didn't want to run it in the newsletter because it goes to so many people and they felt it may not be relevant to hunters outside the Holy Cross area. I'm very glad they've had a change of heart and chosen to help. This means just about every hunter in the area will be aware. Maybe it will lead to some news.

FYI Hunting seasons run from now through till February with the majority of hunters being out through November.

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Re: Lost Hiker on Mt Holy Cross

Postby cnelsonwaters » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:02 am

A year ago this week...my brother James set out for a 5 day hike in Holy Cross. He started at Fall Creek Trail head and made it to Lake Consitine we believe. After that we don't know what happened. We would like to thank everyone for keeping the search going and hope alive to finding some clues. I was aware that the Denver newspaper ran an artical about getting the word out the hunters to look for any clues. Remember James had hiking poles, a 40 lb pack and enough stuff for 5 days. Along with a tent, sleeping bag, warm clothes.

Something has to turn up....if you find anything please contact Dan Smith, or the Vail Mountian resuce group and rangers. DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING.

Additional information can be found in the first couple pages of forms. I will try to repost some of the information. This week is very hard on my mom, my dad and me.....we don't know what happened, where he is and don't have a body or something to get closer. I pray someone will remember something from that week last year and come forward or find some clue.

Please keep the hope alive and bring my brother home. Be safe! Lets find some clues before the snow starts to fall again this year. I don't know how my mom will get through another winter.

Thank you again for all your support, thinking and efforts to find something. NO ONE SHOULD EVER BE LEFT BEHIND!

May James speak and guide you to him out on the trail.

Hugs,
Christy Nelson
James' sister

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Re: Lost Hiker on Mt Holy Cross

Postby cnelsonwaters » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:19 am

JAMES BRIAN NELSON, BORN MARCH 3, 1979 (is 32 years old) Sandy blond/brown hair, Gotee, beard MISSING SINCE OCT 3, 2010 [-o<

Items that would have been in james pack and his food menu:

Here is more information regarding the clothing James had in his backpack:
skull cap... rust colored
1-silk long top
1-silk long underware bottom
1-wool long underware bottom
1-wool underware top
1-polypro underware bottom
mormont orange shleeved shirt (wearing)
1-power stretch top
1-fleece pant
1-hiking pant
2-wool hiking socks
3-poly pro liner socks
2-hiking underware
1-sleeping underware
1-balaclava
liner gloves
heavy gloves
Black heavy coat

equipment: orange whistle, GPS (Garmin in belief), compass, camel back water, stove, gas, matches, water filter equipment, head lamp, sleeping bag, tarpin tent


Food information
Date Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Sun 10/3/2010 xxx peanut butter hiking taco
Mon 10/4 nature valley bar,biscotti, dried fruit, almonds jalapano and cheese garlic pasta
Tues 10/5 nature valley bar,biscotti, dried fruit, almonds tomato dip Asian Freeze dried
Wed 10/6 nature valley bar,biscotti, dried fruit, almonds jalapano and cheese spaghetti with meat sauce
Thurs 10/7 nature valley bar,biscotti, dried fruit, almonds tomato dip jumbalaya
Friday 10/8 nature valley bar,biscotti, dried fruit, almonds peanut butter xxx
Attachments
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Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:21 pm

Re: Lost Hiker on Mt Holy Cross

Postby TdotW » Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:38 am

cnelsonwaters wrote:A year ago this week...my brother James set out for a 5 day hike in Holy Cross. He started at Fall Creek Trail head and made it to Lake Consitine we believe. After that we don't know what happened. We would like to thank everyone for keeping the search going and hope alive to finding some clues. I was aware that the Denver newspaper ran an artical about getting the word out the hunters to look for any clues. Remember James had hiking poles, a 40 lb pack and enough stuff for 5 days. Along with a tent, sleeping bag, warm clothes.

Something has to turn up....if you find anything please contact Dan Smith, or the Vail Mountian resuce group and rangers. DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING.

Additional information can be found in the first couple pages of forms. I will try to repost some of the information. This week is very hard on my mom, my dad and me.....we don't know what happened, where he is and don't have a body or something to get closer. I pray someone will remember something from that week last year and come forward or find some clue.

Please keep the hope alive and bring my brother home. Be safe! Lets find some clues before the snow starts to fall again this year. I don't know how my mom will get through another winter.

Thank you again for all your support, thinking and efforts to find something. NO ONE SHOULD EVER BE LEFT BEHIND!

May James speak and guide you to him out on the trail.

Hugs,
Christy Nelson
James' sister


Christy,
My heart is with you, your mom, and the rest of your family this week, as you mark this anniversary.
Trinda

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