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  • Steve Thomas case

    I know this isn’t a current situation but I just found out about the case Steve Thomas who disappeared while hiking Marcy, I came across while researching the 411 missing which I find very interesting and fascinating. This case may have been already discussed here on the forums but I was just wondering what people’s opinions on this were as well as the 411 missing in general I haven’t watched the documentary yet but I plan too at some point.

  • #2
    Good article here... https://www.strangeoutdoors.com/myst.../steven-thomas

    And his story is covered in chapter 8 of "At the Mercy of the Mountains" which if you haven't read yet is a must.

    Have not the seen the doc yet either but I believe you can stream on Amazon Prime Video. Not sure where else might have it.

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    • FlyFishingandBeer
      FlyFishingandBeer commented
      Editing a comment
      Great book. I piggy backed that one with Where You'll Find Me.

  • #3
    I have the book Makwa refers to. Probably where I got most of the information.
    Also, 40 years since Douglas Legg went missing.

    I did follow the case on Vesper Mt WA one or two years ago. I don’t think the missing woman was found. The sidebar of it was what happens after the first to respond searchers stop searching,. That would be Rangers in the ADK other agencies in other parts of the country.

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    • #4
      If I was looking for Steve Thomas's remains, I would hike a weeks worth of food into Panther Gorge and scour the bottom of the cliffs. At this point it is probably the only place that has not been really searched extensively.
      Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
      ThereAndBack http://www.hikesafe.com/

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      • #5
        Bunchberry: Actually Panther Gorge was searched extensively, much of it by Steven Thomas's brother. He found the remains of an earlier Atkinson search, but never the remains of his brother. When led to the site of the Atkinson remains, a Forest Ranger who had participated in that search noted that he had been just a few yards from that location when he was searching for Atkinson.

        So, while Steven Thomas might still be in Panther Gorge, it has been searched; and subsequent rock climbing explorations have covered much more terrain.

        There are other theories that he had been talking on this trip of ways that one could walk off, disappear, and reappear in a new identity. Not a likely scenario, but one that can't be ruled out without a body.

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        • #6
          Originally posted by Bunchberry View Post
          If I was looking for Steve Thomas's remains, I would hike a weeks worth of food into Panther Gorge and scour the bottom of the cliffs. At this point it is probably the only place that has not been really searched extensively.
          Not really!

          https://www.adirondackmountaineering...nthergorgebook
          8000m 0/14

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          • #7
            Well now! I have been corrected! Thank you!
            Leave No Trace! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXO1uY0MvmQ
            ThereAndBack http://www.hikesafe.com/

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            • #8
              I think you could spend a lifetime looking for a body on Marcy and still come up empty. Evidently that is particularly true in the Steve Thomas case. It is one of the more interesting ones though for sure. That one, Dougie Legg, and the Indian Pass/Wallface Pond one have always held my interest.

              Bob Thomas never really got over his brother's disappearance. He spent years of his life searching relentlessly all over the Marcy summit cone. He even had a few run-ins with Rangers regarding his efforts. He never turned up anything that was directly related to his brother, but he did manage to discover the body of a different hiker who had been missing for three years at the time Bob made the discovery. Needless to say, there is probably nobody who has ever covered more square feet of the Marcy summit area than Bob has.

              I think this story will eventually have a conclusion. The remains of Steve will either be found some day by some intrepid hiker, or there will be a death bed confession about "the time I walked off NYs tallest mountain and started a new life". In the meantime, when you are around the area of the plateau and the summit of Marcy, keep your eyes out for the remains of a 1970s style yellow raincoat in the underbrush. It just may lead to the answer of this decades old mystery.
              Adopt a natural resource. Give back.

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              • #9
                Originally posted by Rmxfiles View Post
                Steve Thomas who disappeared while hiking Marcy, I came across while researching the 411 missing which I find very interesting and fascinating.
                Have 411 people been lost on Mt. Marcy?

                Comment


                • Makwa
                  Makwa commented
                  Editing a comment
                  This... https://www.historicmysteries.com/mi...%20the%20cause.

                  Missing 411 cases are a colloquial classification that documents missing person cases that fit a number of criteria:
                  * The disappearance occurred in a national park, rural area, or large reserve of public land.
                  * Exceptionally odd circumstances surround the disappearance.
                  * Mental illness or voluntary disappearance does not appear to be the cause.


                  Give the article a read. Pretty interesting.

                • gebby
                  gebby commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Not on Marcy. In National Parks and it's a lot more than 411! https://www.outsideonline.com/2164446/leave-no-trace

                • Bunchberry
                  Bunchberry commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Learning things all the time on this forum! Thank you Makwa!

              • #10
                One of the accounts of Steve's disappearance state he said to his hiking party he was going just a short distance down the trail which is probably what he did and may be located between the old Hopkins lean-to and the upper plateau lean-to. That area from accounts I read has not been searched much likely due to the thick vegetation which could easily hide a hiker at any time of year. He may have fallen into a tree well, post holed himself into a hole, or slipped and injured himself. Given the extensive searching by Steve's brother, helicopters, ADKers, DEC rangers, and dogs on Mt Marcy, I think it is unlikely that he is on the dome of Mt. Marcy. The Lake Placid news has many archived articles from 1976 about the searches.

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                • #11
                  Originally posted by Bunchberry View Post
                  Well now! I have been corrected! Thank you!
                  I'm a little late in seeing this...

                  I've been in there about 70 times and had my eyes open during each outing. Granted, we were climbing or scouting for climbing, but the tops and bottoms of most cliffs as well as the paths of leasst resistance from each cliff to the bottom of the Gorge (or to adjacent cliffs) have been underfoot. That said, I could be 10 feet away from something and not see it since there's layers of talus below each cliff, all covered with evergreens and moss. In all likelihood at this point, all that would be found would be the soles of his boots or other durables...what Ranger van Laer asked me to keep an eye out for. When Atkinson's remains were found, his skull an other parts were located and covered in moss and that was decades ago.

                  Also, the Gorge is also an active place especially below the cliffs. Annual ice falls scour the base each year and rockfalls are fairly common (there was one last year in the N end, a small one 2 years ago on Haystack, and a large one on the N edge of the E Face that wiped out acres of forest. So...if there happened to be remains below the cliffs, it would be hit or miss to find anything.
                  May your ambition for the goal allow you to be a student of the journey.

                  www.adirondackmountaineering.com

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                  • FlyFishingandBeer
                    FlyFishingandBeer commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You'd need dumb luck or a team of cadaver dogs at this point. I read a story not too long ago about a pair of cadaver dogs that found the decade+ old remains (a shoe and some small bone fragments) of a small child in a lake, under several feet of water and several more feet of sedimentary mud.

                • #12
                  There's two reasons Panther Gorge has a well-deserved reputation for swallowing up hikers that become lost and/or disoriented at higher elevations on Mr. Marcy. Firstly, the Panther Gorge side of Mt. Marcy tends to be on the leeward (downwind) side of the peak, and in storms with high winds especially, hikers who completely lose the trail above treeline have a tendency to head downwind- whether they realize it or not.

                  The second reason involves hikers that aren't so much completely lost, but rather disoriented with regards to exactly which trail they are on. The summit of Marcy doesn't really have any signage to definitively communicate exactly which side of the peak you are starting down- north vs south. Even in nice weather I've observed hikers on the summit struggle to ensure that they starting down the "right" side of the peak. In inclement weather with low cloud cover especially, hikers can- and sometimes do- get turned around and start down one side of the mountain, thinking they are descending the other.

                  The majority of the hiker traffic climbing Marcy comes from the Adirondak Loj by way of the VanHoevenberg Trail. Returning back to the Loj demands a left hand turn at the first junction (with the Range Trail/Phelps Trail). If you're descending the south side of Marcy thinking it's the north side, and make the seemingly necessary left turn at the first junction you arrive at to get back to the Loj... you end up turning left at Four Corners and thus begin the long descent down into Panther Gorge.

                  I personally believe that while the first scenario (hikers losing the trail entirely and heading downwind) can and does happen, the second scenario (on trail hikers descending the south side of Marcy thinking they are on the north side) occurs with greater frequency.

                  Since either of these scenarios are really only plausible outcomes for lost/disoriented hikers closer to the summit, I would therefore suggest that the chances that Steven ended up in Panther Gorge correlate roughly with the chances he climbed at least above treeline on Marcy while out on his own. While the weather conditions that afternoon/evening were prime for either of the above scenarios to play out, I don't know that I would assign any greater chance to Steven having ended up above treeline in the first place as compared to some of the other scenarios that have been suggested. Like tmalloy46er says, I think it's at least equally as likely that he stepped off the trail below treeline for whatever reason, and ended up turned around and/or injured in the dense krummholz on the northern slopes of Marcy, closer to the Plateau Lean-to where his group was camped.

                  Also, like mudrat states... given how long it has been since Steven disappeared, there likely isn't a whole lot left to be found. The same is almost certainly true of Douglas Legg. Even bones can break down in a surprisingly short period of time when exposed to the forces of nature- calcium is a nutrient that is otherwise in somewhat limited supply, and small mammals can and will gnaw bones down to nothing over the course of multiple years.

                  Somewhat tangentially- the immediate vicinity of the summit of Marcy is absolutely covered in human remains. It's such a popular spot for the spreading of ashes of the dearly departed that once you know what to look for, it's not at all hard to come up with handfuls of human bone fragments with minimal effort. While I doubt that Steven (or anyone else still missing) perished anywhere close to the summit (they almost certainly would've been found sooner or later if this were the case), it would nevertheless be interesting to see just how much of an effect the presence of so many cremated remains would have on the ability of a cadaver dog to conduct a search near the summit. Some quick googling tells me that there is a subset of cadaver dogs that receive training specific to finding cremated remains- perhaps it's also possible to train a cadaver dog to ignore cremated remains?

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