Aug. 8, 2003: Missing Backpacker - Matterhorn Peak Area, Toiyabe National Forest

08/08/03, Friday, 1600 Hours – 08/11/03, Monday, 1400 Hours

A. Puhek looking over the team's search assignment. Photo by Antonio M. Arizo

A solo 46-year-old backpacker, Fred Claassen, due back on Aug. 4 was reported missing in the Sawtooth range of the Toiyabe National Forest. After several days of searching by the Mono County Search and Rescue team and others, a statewide call was placed for mountain rescue team. Thirteen East Valley team members responded to the search. After driving all night to the search base in Bridgeport, the team was scheduled to fly to the search area by a army blackhawk helicopter. High winds at the search area landing zone forced the team to hike to the search area. The search team set up a bivy site and search the area until dark. At first light the next day the team search their assigned area consisting of large boulders and steep cliffs. The search was suspended at 16:00 hours.

View photos from the search in the gallery.

UPDATE 08/25/03:
The Mono Co. Sheriff Department officially designated the subject a "missing person".

UPDATE 09/10/10:
The remains of the subject was located on September 5, 2010, above the 10,000-foot level of Whorl Mountain in Yosemite National Park.