Search-and-rescue personnel from Calaveras County have joined the multi-agency hunt for an avid and experienced mountaineer believed to be missing between Ebbetts Pass and Carson Pass.
Brad Dozier, 55, of Elk Grove, left his vehicle Saturday at the Evergreen Trail parking lot near Upper Blue Lake campground, between Highway 4 and Highway 88, east of Bear Valley, according to the Alpine County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities describe Dozier as white, 5 feet 10 inches tall, 190 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. He was last known to be wearing a green shirt, olive hiking pants, and hiking shoes or boots. Dozier is known to go off trail and summit peaks in Alpine County.
Scores of searchers have been looking for Dozier this week. Ground teams have come from agencies including Amador County, Nevada County, Marin County, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Monterey County, and Bay Area Mountain Rescue. Airborne searchers have included helicopter crews from the California Highway Patrol and National Guard.
Calaveras County has sent six searchers over the past two days and a specially trained sheriff’s sergeant to help manage the search, Sgt. Rachelle Whiting with the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday. Incident command for the search is in Markleeville and search efforts Wednesday concentrated on an area west of Blue Lakes near Deadwood Peak in Alpine County.
There’s been speculation online about where Dozier was planning to go. He is active on Peakbagger.com, a site where hikers and mountaineers post after their ascents, but he apparently did not tell anyone his intended destination before he departed on this recent trip. His vehicle was discovered at the Evergreen Trail parking lot on Sunday, said Spencer Case, undersheriff for Alpine County.
“He’s got survival skills to get through this,” Beth Goldberg, who knows Dozier and his wife, said Wednesday in a phone interview. “Hopefully he’s found water. Part of the difficulty is he didn’t say where he’s going.”
Goldberg, speaking from Sacramento, said she was trying to locate overseers or caretakers for the old Monte Wolfe cabin between Salt Springs Reservoir and Hermit Valley. The cabin dates to the 1930s and it’s in terrain so rugged the Forest Service used to use a helicopter to get there before they boarded it up in 2010. Even if the old place is still shuttered, “it's kind of like a landmark that he could go to, to stay safe,” Goldberg said.
The Monte Wolfe Cabin is west of Upper Blue Lake in the North Fork Mokelumne watershed in Alpine County, staff with the Amador Ranger District, Eldorado National Forest, said Wednesday.
Upper Blue Lake, where Dozier’s vehicle was found, is at 8,200 feet elevation. Overnight lows this week have been dipping into the mid to low 30s with daytime highs around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
On Peakbagger.com, Dozier has listed previous ascents including multiple 14,000-foot Sierra Nevada summits like Mount Whitney, Mount Williamson, North Palisade, Keeler Needle, Mount Langley, Mount Tyndall, Middle Palisade, Mount Muir and Thunderbolt Peak. Several of those peaks are above Big Pine in the Palisades, one the highest, most rugged and saw-toothed subranges in the Sierra Nevada.
Staff with Alpine County, the lead agency on the search for Dozier, said the Sheriff’s Office respects the desires of Dozier’s family and friends to help find Dozier. But the Sheriff’s Office requests they stay out of the search area due to hazardous terrain and potential for injuries.
Authorities urged anyone who spots Dozier or has information about where Dozier is to call the Alpine County Sheriff’s Office at (530) 694-2231. Plans for the search to continue Thursday were being made Wednesday afternoon.
Contact Guy McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.