Two Men Missing in Mojave Area

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Sonar

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I read about this yesterday. I hope they didn't fall into an abandoned mine shaft.

Back in 2005 or so someone on a dirt bike fell to his death into a 700' deep mine shaft in that area. It's very dangerous to ride at night and at high speeds it may be too late to react.
 

Eng74

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Nothing new out here. Once the weather starts to cool down all the dirt bikers and off roaders come out to the area. Since BLM has closed off more and more areas it has put more and more riders in a smaller area. It is not out of the norm to fly out 10 to 15 people over a 3 day weekend. They were do a press briffing on a mine rescue about a kid who road into a open shaft and what happened? Another bike road right into where they were and right into the shaft. We have even had dirt bikes crash into patrols while they were taking down info for another dirt bike down or parked at a downed biker. Also this time of year it is getting dark early and if you do not know the area the desert is not very forgiving.
 

zz0468

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That happens to be at a comm site, Government Peak. Years ago, I had to climb a 100' tower perched right on the edge of that cliff. It was winter, so very cold. I dropped my gloves from the top of the tower. One fell 100' to the ground. The other fell 600 feet to the bottom of the ravine.

It's a long way down and I can understand, if they were not familiar with the top of the hill, how they could have driven over the side.

My heart goes out to their families. What a tragic waste...
 

Token

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That happens to be at a comm site, Government Peak.QUOTE]

Actually, as I understand it (but I was not on scene so I could be incorrect) this was substantially east of Government Peak, that point was probably just mentioned in the news reports because it was easy to find. I was monitoring the helo when it was hovering over the site and the actual location was pretty close to the command post that had been set up. Initial search efforts sounded like they concentrated a bit further out I believe, more towards Cuddeback Lake, the intended target of the pair. I know that the Navy had helos up in support of the effort.

As Eng74 said, on the weekends the area is inundated with people from down south who come up here to ride in the desert. Cities of RVs and campers grow overnight, and thousands of bikes, ATVs, etc can be seen in an afternoon. I cannot count the number of folks I have given a ride to when their bike/4x4/ATV etc ran out of gas or broke down in the area, I am generally out in the desert every weekend, and more than once I have had to call in a rescue for someone who crashed.

Any death such as these two are indeed a waste, and my heart also goes out to the families, but it sounds like an effort that was questionable from the start. The time of day chosen to take off, the lack of equipment, no communications, as I understand it no water/provisions, no real plan, etc. The Desert is a pretty place, and should be enjoyed by all, but given a chance it will bite you in the butt also. You must respect its ability to kill/maim/incapacitate you, or eventually you do find out first hand.

Hopefully others will learn from this event and maybe someone else will make it home, who otherwise might not have.

T!
 

zz0468

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Actually, as I understand it (but I was not on scene so I could be incorrect) this was substantially east of Government Peak, that point was probably just mentioned in the news reports because it was easy to find...
I don't know... Governement Peak is a pretty specific place, and it's also the only place I know of out there that you can drive right to the top of a 500 foot cliff, and go on over if you're so inclined. I'm not aware of any roads or trails on the mountains closer to Cuddeback. That's also on the other side of 395 from the stated location.
 

Token

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I don't know... Governement Peak is a pretty specific place, and it's also the only place I know of out there that you can drive right to the top of a 500 foot cliff, and go on over if you're so inclined. I'm not aware of any roads or trails on the mountains closer to Cuddeback. That's also on the other side of 395 from the stated location.
Yes, Cuddeback is on the other side of 395, to the east, and Cuddeback was also where the riders were headed when they left out. To get to Government Peak the riders would have had to go west-south-west, in the wrong direction from their goal of Cuddeback, that would have been south east almost due east. Of course, it is possible they never headed in the right direction at all.

Listening to the helos hovering over the site they sounded like they were describing being east of Government Peak, and that also would have been in the general direction of Cuddeback. I am not saying it was not Government Peak, I never heard an exact location, but it certainly did not sound like it on the radio comms.

As far as the only place meeting the description, not really. In a 5 mile radius from Government Peak I could take you to probably a dozen places where you could drive over a several hundred foot cliff, road going right up to the edge, including a couple on the east side of 395, in the general direction of Steam Wells for example.

The area in question is an area I 4x4 and ATV in every other week or so, I can jump on the quad here at the house and be there in about 45 minutes without ever driving on asphalt other than to cross a couple of roads.

T!
 

Eng74

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The one thing I do not really understand is why did they leave Randsburg at 2:30 a.m. to get to Cuddeback Lake. At most on an ATV it would be 90 mins. to get to the northern part of the lake.
 

zz0468

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Hmmm... if they left from Randsburg, then falling off Gov't Peak makes even more sense. I'm pretty familiar with Gov't Peak, Randsburg, and that side of the highway... much less so on the east side and Cuddeback. I've never been off road more than a couple of miles east of red Mtn or Atolia, but looking at the topo maps and Google Earth, it's not nearly so busy with roads as Gov't Peak, or the El Paso's are. Gov't Peak is a mile and a half from Randsburg, and it's quite feasible that they headed up there first.

Well, if you guys get more info as to where, I'd be curious. There's some pretty treacherous ground out there. It it's not a cliff, it's an open mine shaft that'll swallow you up.
 

Eng74

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The thing is there is a road that Rand Mine used that went from thier spot in Randsburg almost all the way out to Cuddeback. It is a good road that RV's use to head that way from the North and not have to go down 395 mid way to Krammer. Then again they were not from the area.
 

DPD1

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I had no idea it was so busy around there now days. It wasn't that long ago you could drive around those roads and not see anybody all day long.
 

Token

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I had no idea it was so busy around there now days. It wasn't that long ago you could drive around those roads and not see anybody all day long.
When I moved up here more than 25 years ago you could spend a whole week out and about and never see anyone other than the very occasional desert rat. And you can still sometimes do that during the week assuming it is not a holiday weekend on either side. But on any weekend you are likely to see a few people pretty much anyplace, no matter how far back in the middle of nowhere it is. And on a long weekend you have to be careful driving the back roads/trails, as the traffic is often heavy enough to be dangerous in some places. As I said before, literal cities of RVs spring up starting on any Friday afternoon, and the nicer the weather the faster and bigger they spring up. And many flatlanders seem to think driving around in the desert requires one to have a certain level of buzz on before it is allowed.

Last year the wife and I took an impromptu trip up to Barker Ranch (for those not familiar with the area, a fairly remote desert prospectors location with buildings going back to 1940 or so and a prospectors history back to the late 1800's, but most known as the location where Charles Manson was captured, hiding under the sink, in 1969). Most of the time to get here requires 4 wheel drive at least, and depending on the time of year and current condition of the road it can require a pretty serious 4x4, although I have also made it in a station wagon...if you don't care too much about the car ;) And Manson got a school bus back in there somehow...I still don't quite get how that happened. This time was one of the occasions when the road was pretty bad, 4x4 was an absolute requirement, and stock 4x4 was probably just going to get the average driver a bit further away from help before getting stuck/broke, yet when we arrived there this particular Saturday there were more than 30 vehicles parked in front of the place, and they had not arrived in a group as a planned thing.

T!
 
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DPD1

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Wow... And I bet the people from the weekend don't exactly tread lightly.

Funny you should mention it... I had the radio on for a bit last night, and listened to CHP catch up to a drunk being tailed by a civi... Truck and RV trailer going north up 14. They the arrested him for DUI. How dumb do you gotta be to not just wait a couple hours until you actually get there.

I was amazed to go up to Mojave on a Friday night a while back, and noticed a huge group of RVs just right off the road. No special holiday or anything, just a regular weekend. It's kind of sad really... I use to love going out there in the old days to get out of the city. Considering all the whining about the economy, you have to wonder where people get the money to buy all this crap.
 
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DPD1 said:
Wow... And I bet the people from the weekend don't exactly tread lightly.

Funny you should mention it... I had the radio on for a bit last night, and listened to CHP catch up to a drunk being tailed by a civi... Truck and RV trailer going north up 14. They the arrested him for DUI. How dumb do you gotta be to not just wait a couple hours until you actually get there.

I was amazed to go up to Mojave on a Friday night a while back, and noticed a huge group of RVs just right off the road. No special holiday or anything, just a regular weekend. It's kind of sad really... I use to love going out there in the old days to get out of the city. Considering all the whining about the economy, you have to wonder where people get the money to buy all this crap.
Yeah I agree. People just go out every weekend, make up their own holidays. I hear the same thing about how the economy is bad yet places are crowded.

Living off of credit I bet.
 

mrwilson706

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I'm glad their bodies were recovered so their families can try to begin to heal. That's a very harsh environment, kudos to those of you who live there. I had a short vacation there a few years back... 29 palms, Camp Wilson.
 

zz0468

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...Considering all the whining about the economy, you have to wonder where people get the money to buy all this crap.
Not everybody is hurting. And with the down economy, and gas prices lower than what they peaked at, there is a sizable segment of the population that actually benefit from a recession... so long as they are among the lucky ones who remain employed.
 

Duster

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I'm glad their bodies were recovered so their families can try to begin to heal. That's a very harsh environment, kudos to those of you who live there. I had a short vacation there a few years back... 29 palms, Camp Wilson.
"Vacation", huh? LOL If Camp Wilson was a vacation for you, I'd hate to see your normal post...!
 
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