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Old 15th January 2009, 12:45 PM
Plumm Plumm is offline
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Default brother is missing

My brother Julian Wynne, English, 32 has not made contact with any one and we are worried. He climbed the Gokyo Ri area, and safely decended, this was around the 21st December. He had then planned to go to EBC. We (his family) do not know if he was on his own or had met up with other trekers. Julian has now not made any contact for almost 4 weeks.
What I am wanting to know is are the weather conditions dangerous at this time? how safe would the route be? I know accidents are always possible, but generally speaking. I'm afraid I don't know the names of the areas on the way to EBC or the trail he would have taken, can any one shed any light on this? is 4 weeks too long to still be treking, or do many people trek for many more weeks in this area. Would the trek to EBC be frequented this time of year by many? if he had been ill or injured on the trail would he have been found by other trekers?
The Embassy has been alerted, statements have been made to interpol. I would like to ask experienced trekers in this area, should we be acting to get the helicopter out at this stage?
If anyone has recently returned from EBC did you see or meet up with Julian?
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Old 15th January 2009, 01:50 PM
Escher Escher is offline
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Default Re: brother is missing

As far as I have heard there has not been any bad weather recently in the Khumbu (Everest region), when I say bad weather I mean substantial amounts of snow. There can be big dumps of snow at any time of year and normally we hear about it as it makes trekking difficult when it happens.

There are two ways (three really but one he is not very likely to have taken - so we'll discount for now) to Gokyo. First (and most likely) is the normal route. I suspect he went this way as he was talking about going to EBC next (the second route is to come from the EBC valley to Gokyo). He would have walked from and through Namche, Mong, Phortse Tenga, Dole, Machhermo, Gokyo. Afterwards if you want to go to EBC you can go back the way you came and then head up the EBC valley or cross the Cho La. The Cho La is a high pass (5350m) that is regularly crossed by trekkers. During winter though it can be treacherous and icy and may require crampons to negotiate. However it is crossed by people without crampons quite regularly, and most people have no problem with it. But like any high pass - conditions, experience, ability with altitude all play a part. It is not wise to cross a high pass without company. I would be very surprised if he attempted the pass on his own.

There are a couple of sections on the trail to Gokyo where it can be icy and treacherous and more so in winter. The vast majority of people going that way have no issues other than having to go very gingerly along those specific sections (they are 10-20 yards long with ice on the trail but a steep drop to one side - to put it in perspective) . However there have been accidents, although they are very rare, along this section.

There are many fewer trekkers trekking during winter than during the main trekking seasons (Oct-Nov/Mar/Apr/May), numbers can be very small (you might meet 10-20 others going the same way - sometimes less) and there are no big organised tours going through the area. Most people do hook up with other trekkers though, it is unusual to go alone and it is possible, even in December to find others to trek with. Either beforehand or during the trek. At least 3 people who post here have recently been in that area. Oli, Landfall and RRainey. On the whole if you are are ill or injured along the trail someone will find you. There are many lodges and people (locals as well as trekkers) walking the trails. But, there are places where, if you were to slip, you may slip away from the trail and not be seen. This becomes a problem if you are not trekking with someone as you will not be noticed as missing.

It is unusual for someone to keep trekking that long, to be honest, in the same area. Some may do that but not many. There are internet cafes and phones in the Everest region so it is possible to keep in touch even if you are still trekking.

It would be useful to know Julian's experience trekking and in the mountains. It might help us to assess what he may have taken on and how comfortable he sould be with winter conditions and solo travel.

In some places some lodges have a book that you sign in to. There was a campaign a few years ago and certainly in 2005 (the last time I was in the Khumbu) there were visitors books at nearly all lodges. So it should be possible (with access to the books) to track his movements. This information may not be 100% though and not all lodges may be collecting it.

My guess at advice would be to talk to a reputable agency/guide and see whether you can employ someone to go to the Khumbu and trek the Gokyo route and to try and gather information on the route he took. Perhaps a lodge owner in Gokyo will remember him and will know what route he was intending to take after Gokyo. That may narrow the search down a bit. I don't use a guide personally but many of the people here do and will be able to recommend someone you can speak to who can help you out.

Good luck and fingers crossed for Julians safe return.
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Old 15th January 2009, 03:16 PM
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yakshaver yakshaver is offline
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Default Re: brother is missing

Rachel, if it is ok, I will give these details to Santaman, my guide, to see if he or one of his guides or porter-guides has been in the area during that time. See if he can find out anything.

Could you post a picture of Julian?

Last edited by yakshaver; 15th January 2009 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 15th January 2009, 05:21 PM
Plumm Plumm is offline
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Default Re: brother is missing

Thankyou for your advice and information. This was Julian's first treking trip, he did begin treking with a friend but they parted company (22nd Dec) after descending Gokyo Ri. Julian was possibly sighted with two Australian guys on the 22nd December. We have been in contact with his friend who has now returned to Kathmandu and he is also concerned for Julian's safety. We know that Julian has not signed out of the National Park. If any one can recommend a guide or suggest how i might contact one it would be appreciated.
Thanks Rachael
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Old 15th January 2009, 11:17 PM
Landfall38 Landfall38 is offline
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Default Re: brother is missing

I believe OLI was in the Khumbu at this time! Oli?

We flew out of Tumlingtar on Dec 22nd 2008 -- the first truly cloudy day in over 2 weeks -- on that flight we noted that there had been new snow higher up in the mountains (likely not a lot, possibly only a dusting).

As Escher notes, there are a couple icy/slippery sections (in Dec) on the main trail below Gokyo (one, just below 1st lake, gave us trouble in Dec 2005) -- however, any fall here did not look like it would be a "major" fall (although it would be unpleasant and some injury could occur) and certainly anyone doing so would likely remain in full view of others coming by on the trail.

On the other hand, a concern is that he went over Cho La alone.

Anyone go over Cho La Dec 22 or later?
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Old 16th January 2009, 01:49 AM
RRainey RRainey is offline
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Default Re: brother is missing

Hi, I have a good memory for faces and I do not recall seeing your brother. I was in the Khumbu during that period.
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Old 16th January 2009, 03:06 AM
Oli Oli is offline
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Julian and Lee (his trekking companion) were staying in the Namaste Lodge in Gokyo when I arrived. I didn't really have a conversation with either of them and they left the next day. I met Lee a few days later in Namche and he told me then that Julian was missing.

They had set out to cross Cho La together on (I think) the 22nd. Apparently they had some differing ideas on the path to take up the pass and had decided to go their separate ways. Lee told me that he had looked back and seen Julian sitting on a rock by the path, then later seen 2+1 people walking away from the pass and had (not unreasonably) assumed that his friend was now in the company of a pair of trekkers they'd seen descending from the pass earlier. Lee continued over the pass and returned to Namche expecting to meet up with Julian there a few days hence. Unfortunately that was the last time that anyone has seen or heard of Julian.

Lee waited in Namche for several days. Julian had left camera & ipod cables at the lodge in Namche but did not collect them. Lee had been waiting by the trail coming into Namche and quizzed most of the trekkers coming down as to whether they had seen Julian. Some messages were sent up the trail to the villages & lodges that he might have passed through, but to no avail.

Weather conditions at the time were quite good, there was no snow in the Gokyo valley whilst we were there, just a very light dusting of snow in Namche on the 25th, but it was getting colder and late in the season. I believe that the lodges on either side of Cho La were about to close for the winter, a few days later there might be no lodges between Gokyo/Machermo and Lobuche/Pheriche and few (if any) people crossing the pass. There were far few trekkers around than in peak season, but there were still a fair number walking the trails.

I don't think that Julian crossed Cho La, he didn't go back to Gokyo and I didn't see any sign of him one the way to Namche. Perhaps he might have gone down the east side of the Gokyo valley to Phortse, a few other people were using that trail. If he had an accident on the trail he likely would have been found fairly soon, but had he been away off the trail then he would be lost for some time.

I saw Lee again once or twice in Kathmandu in the first week of January and he told me there was still no sign of Julian, he had been in contact with Julian's mum & Racheal but they had not heard from him. By this time Julian's cash would be running out and the prospect was not looking good. There really wasn't anything that I could suggest that Lee wasn't doing already (notifying the trial checkpoints & embassy etc).

Sorry for my delay in posting here, I should have mentioned this before Plumm had to, but this is rather a mystery to me also. He really should have reappeared by now, but already it is far too late if he has met with misadventure. My guide told me that a trekker had once been "missing" and months later turned up in a Gompa having become a monk, but I doubt that is what happened here. I can't help but think of the Gareth Koch saga, and of the fate of Kristina Kovacevic, or "Christoper" (see post #4 etc here). I do not know what might have happened to Julian, and rather fear for his welfare. I really wish I could offer positive advice, but sadly I cannot.

Edit: I'll try harder to offer advice....
If you want to arrange a search of the area then you'll probably need the assistance of the Namche Youth Group, start looking in the Gokyo valley. The British Embassy in Kathmandu really ought to be able to help with advice and liaison in Nepal. The Koch family might help in some way. I expect that Julian had an "independent" class of TIMS permit so I doubt that TAAN will be of any assistance.

Last edited by Oli; 16th January 2009 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 16th January 2009, 08:22 AM
trek trek is offline
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Default Re: brother is missing

I just Back yesterday from the EBC trek I had 2 Japanese client with me, our target was to cross chila but because of so dangers ice we did gokyo via phorche village, at Janaury 7 I show looks same like in the this picture, one men cross us on the way before dole, we was ascending to dole because of difficult climbing up we didnít really talk, just I said him Namaste, and he was replied me same. I think that make could be Julian's,

I am trekking guide, some of my friend still guiding on the Gokyo valley, hope they will bring more good news, actually don't have to worry, because there are no any bad news till now on the EBC right now, may be he enjoying his own pace,

Himal Ghale
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Old 16th January 2009, 11:49 AM
Himalaya Rescue Dog Squad Himalaya Rescue Dog Squad is offline
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Default Re: brother is missing

Hi there PLUMM & OLI,

please contact us by e-mail a.s.a.p. and we can communicate directly. We need to co-ordinate some data and exchange views! Just send to us your e-mail with your last comments again to our inbox and we will discuss it.

Ingo Schnabel, Managing Director
Govinda Ale, Chairman
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Old 16th January 2009, 12:59 PM
Plumm Plumm is offline
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Default Re: brother is missing

Would anyone be able to provide me with an email address for the Namche Youth Group?
Thanks, Rachael
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