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Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker

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avatar Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 07, 2013 12:23PM
Rangers are conducting a search for Kenneth Stensby, 73, who has been missing since he set off on a day hike to Vernal Fall early last Sunday morning. Stensby, an avid hiker from Edina, Minnesota, was staying at the Ahwahnee Hotel and left a note early Sunday morning informing the hotel staff that he was leaving for the hike early and expected to be back at the hotel by noon. Stensby's dark colored North Face day pack was found near the guard rails at the top of Vernal Fall late on Sunday by National Park Service personnel. It did not contain his camera. Rangers are conducting the search along the Mist Trail corridor from Happy Isles to the top of Vernal Fall. About 30 people and a dog team are currently involved in the search effort. Visitors are being asked if they saw Stensby during the day on Sunday or Monday and are also being asked to check their photos for any images of the missing hiker. Anyone who saw him or moved his daypack is asked to call 209-372-0432.





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/07/2013 12:25PM by eeek.
avatar Yosemite National Park Rangers Conduct Search for Missing Hiker
May 07, 2013 12:26PM
Yosemite National Park Rangers Conduct Search for Missing Hiker
Date: May 6, 2013

Kenneth Stensby, 73, set off on a day hike to Vernal Fall Sunday Morning May 5

Yosemite National Park Rangers are conducting a search for a missing hiker, 73 year old Kenneth Stensby, who set off on a day hike early Sunday morning, May 5, en route to Vernal Fall. Stensby, an avid hiker from Edina, Minnesota, has been in the park for several days and is staying at the Ahwahnee Hotel. He left a note early Sunday morning informing the hotel staff that he was leaving for the hike early and expected to be back at the hotel by noon.

Stensby's dark colored North Face day pack was found at the top of Vernal Fall, by the guard rails, late in the day Sunday by National Park Service personnel. It did not contain his camera.

Park Rangers are conducting the search along the Mist Trail corridor, from Happy Isles to the top of Vernal Fall. About 30 people are currently involved in the search effort and the park is utilizing a dog team to assist in locating Stensby.

Yosemite National Park visitors are being asked if they've seen Stensby during the day yesterday, or today. They are also being asked to check their photos for any images of the missing hiker.

If anyone has seen Kenneth Stensby, or moved his daypack, please call (209)372-0432.

The park will release additional information as it becomes available.
Re: Yosemite National Park Rangers Conduct Search for Missing Hiker
May 07, 2013 12:38PM
Those in the valley this past weekend: how hot was it?

Lots of things could've happened - hoping for the best here.
avatar Re: Yosemite National Park Rangers Conduct Search for Missing Hiker
May 07, 2013 12:43PM
If he had gone over the rail to get a closer shot of the waterfall, one would think that on a busy weekend morning that some other visitors would have noticed.

.
Re: Yosemite National Park Rangers Conduct Search for Missing Hiker
May 07, 2013 01:00PM
Quote
plawrence
If he had gone over the rail to get a closer shot of the waterfall, one would think that on a busy weekend morning that some other visitors would have noticed.

.

But it's not difficult to go unnoticed if someone decides to go near the Emerald Pool, or the stretch of the Merced up to the footbridge. Or maybe he decided to hike up to Nevada w/o the pack. Unfort, countless off-trail spots to slip into the Merced accidentally.

fwiw, it wasn't particularly busy two Sundays ago at Vernal. Traffic on Mist felt lighter than usual too.
Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 07, 2013 02:10PM
I found the location of his pack a bit odd. If I take off my pack, I never leave it that close to the edge, and frankly, would never leave it unattended anyway with all the critters up there.
Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 07, 2013 02:12PM
They found his body this morning

Yosemite National Park Rangers Recover Body of Missing Hiker

http://www.nps.gov/yose/parknews/stensbysar513b.htm

Kenneth Stensby Went for Day Hike on Sunday, May 5

Yosemite National Park Rangers have recovered the body of missing hiker Kenneth Stensby near the base of Vernal Fall. Stensby was fatally injured after falling from a cliff near the top of the waterfall. His body was discovered by Yosemite National Park Search and Rescue Ranger personnel and was extricated at about 1:00 p.m. today.

Stensby, 73, from Edina, Minnesota, had been in the park for several days. He was staying at the Ahwahnee Hotel and went on day hikes each day. Each morning, Stensby would leave a note with the Concierge, outlining his daily plan. On Sunday, May 5, his note stated that he was planning to hike to the top of Vernal Fall via the Mist Trail and return to the hotel around noon. Hotel staff attempted to contact Stensby around 5:00 p.m. that evening, and discovered he had not returned. They contacted the National Park Service to notify Park Rangers that Stensby had not returned to the hotel. Park Rangers discovered his backpack near the guardrail at the top of Vernal Fall later that evening.

Yesterday, the park conducted a full scale search and rescue operation, including multiple ground teams, a dog team, and a California Highway Patrol (CHP) helicopter. The search area was concentrated around the Mist Trail. There was intermittent rain throughout the day, resulting in difficult search conditions. The CHP helicopter, concurrently with ground teams, spotted Stensby's body around 6:00 p.m. last evening.

The Mist Trail, closed during the search and rescue operation, has now been reopened.
Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 07, 2013 02:38PM
How sad. I simply will never understand how someone can go over those falls with that railing in place.
Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 07, 2013 03:21PM
Quote
hotrod4x5
How sad. I simply will never understand how someone can go over those falls with that railing in place.

He might not have gone over the falls though. The guard rail runs along that cliff, extending from the top of the staircase. The benchmarker sits on a rock cropping on the other side of the railing.



Someone could easily lose their balance while standing/sitting along the edge, or leaning too far over trying to get a picture (even while on one's stomach). It looks as if no one witnessed this incident - not entirely surprising if he were far enough away from the waterfall.

Sad news.
avatar Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 07, 2013 07:17PM
I feared this when I saw where they said (and pictured) the pack was.

Rest in peace.
Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 10, 2013 01:50PM
The real clue to what happened would be where exactly he was found.
Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 07, 2013 08:54PM
From a Minnesota TV station website that indicates why he went over the railing:

Search crews had found his backpack on Sunday at the top of the waterfall. His camera was not in the pack.



http://www.davidsenesac.com



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/07/2013 08:55PM by DavidSenesac.
avatar Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 07, 2013 11:07PM
Maybe the MN TV station read the first post.

Just a thought.

My condolences to the family. sad smiley



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 08, 2013 09:22AM
truly sad.. so many people get hurt or die there... people just aren't careful enough... every single time i'm up there, someone is always pushing the limit to see how far they can get away from being in danger... i'm not saying this man did, but young people in particular.

i wonder if it could have been a suicide? it's just weird to me that a man his age was alone, and his backpack right next to rails over the falls.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/08/2013 09:33AM by forrestranger.
Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 08, 2013 10:43AM
Quote
forrestranger
truly sad.. so many people get hurt or die there... people just aren't careful enough... every single time i'm up there, someone is always pushing the limit to see how far they can get away from being in danger... i'm not saying this man did, but young people in particular.

i wonder if it could have been a suicide? it's just weird to me that a man his age was alone, and his backpack right next to rails over the falls.

I've seen people (& kids) sitting on the top railing during family photos. At or near the corner, where the water goes over.

Suicide is a possibility, but more likely this gentleman tried to get that perfect shot. Unfortunate because even when you take that extra risk and "get away with it," 99% of the time the photo taken isn't anything unique or better than the ones taken from a place that's safe. For example, leaning over the railing to get better shot of Upper Fall from Yosemite Point. It won't be any better than one where you just (randomly) stick your wrist out from a safe, upright position.
Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 08, 2013 12:04PM
Quote
forrestranger
truly sad.. so many people get hurt or die there... people just aren't careful enough... every single time i'm up there, someone is always pushing the limit to see how far they can get away from being in danger... i'm not saying this man did, but young people in particular.

i wonder if it could have been a suicide? it's just weird to me that a man his age was alone, and his backpack right next to rails over the falls.

A lot of people that man's age travel by themselves, some because they have no one to travel with. If it was suicide why did he leave his hiking plans every morning with the Ahwahnee Concierge? That does not sound like someone planning suicide. Most likely, he wanted to get a good angle for his pictures and slipped and fell.
Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 08, 2013 10:10AM
There has to be an easier way to get a comp at the Ahwahnee.

My condolences, as well.
Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 08, 2013 11:06AM
I am not new to the wilderness. For the past 30 years, I have backpacked through the Rockies; Rocky Mountain NP, the Teton's, Yellowstone and Glacier. I am new to Yosemite. It is truly an amazing place! The first time that I went to YV was two years ago. We were hiking in from Tuolumne Meadows. When we reached the top of the Mist Trail, I was amazed at how crowded it was. I was even more amazed at the type of clothing and gear people where wearing. Mostly street clothes, street shoes to be more specific!This was the same day that three people from LA went over Vernal Falls. City people (like me) in the wilderness with city shoes and city mentality (not me!) were all over the place, like ants pushing boundaries, doing things that we would never do just a few miles upstream. I guess the proximity and ease of YV to big cities puts these people accustomed to amusement parks face to face with the real wilderness. Most of the time, it is inspiring, sometimes, like this week, it is not. I feel for this man's family, I know they will miss him!
avatar Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 08, 2013 12:29PM
parklover;

it could have been he wanted his body to be found by authorities and not some child / family eventually down river, who knows... i find it odd that not a single soul saw him fall... this time of year???? when it's totally busy with tourists? he HAD to have been there WAY early in the morning for no one to see him... maybe over time there will be an update to the story.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/08/2013 12:36PM by forrestranger.
Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 08, 2013 06:12PM
There is no need to assume suicide. That place by the railing is exactly where you might set your pack while taking a quick photo. All you have to do is hop over the railing to pick up a hat that blew off, or a dropped lens cap, and touch the wet rock. Most flatlanders have no idea that the coefficient of friction goes from "just fine" to almost zero when polished granite gets wet....
avatar Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 08, 2013 06:32PM
There's also the fact that rough granite surfaces have incredible traction, while even dry polished granite surfaces don't. One steps over the smooth surfaces if one knows, but people not used to such rock wouldn't. And the traction afforded by the dry rough Sierra granite isn't the same as one sees on other granite rock, I've slipped while rock-hopping a stream with different textured granite in the Wind River range, misjudged the rock.
avatar Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 09, 2013 08:12AM
It doesn't take much algae to turn 'rough' granite into ice slick granite.

You get used to walking on wet but rough with good traction granite, and then you run into a patch of algae and whooose! you're sliding downslope before you know it. And it looked identical!
avatar Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 11, 2013 04:47PM
The only consolation here is that this man died late in life doing something he loved. My condolences to the family also.
Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 13, 2013 08:17PM
What a heartbreaking story. May Ken rest in peace. It always brings tears to my eyes when a hiker dies while hiking.

I don't believe for a moment this was suicide, he left his hiking itinerary every day at the Ahwahnee.

I'm "only" in my 40's, but am a little surprised at the references to this poor man's old age (73). My mother was a hospice nurse for many years and as she said to me countless times, "Someone 80 or 90 years old wants to live just as fiercely as someone 19 years old."

I've stood at that railing where Ken was probably 80 times in my life. I can't see how he went over the precipice. Perhaps to get a better photo? In any case, my condolences to his family and friends.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/2013 08:22PM by Ulysses61.
Re: Search Underway For Missing Hiker
May 13, 2013 08:35PM
I agree that in this day and age 73 is not that old. I know someone in his early 80's that can out hike someone 1/2 his age. My aunt lived to 97 and walked to church everyday until just before she died.
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