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peanutbutter


Jul 13, 2005, 7:02 PM
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Erica Kutcher missing in Pakistan
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Erica Kutcher and Pierre Olssen were climbing in Pakistan and have been caught in an avalanche. Pierre was found alive, Erica is still missing.

I know them both from camp 4, and I wanted to make sure this news got out. For everyone who knows Erica, she's a real gem of a person, and Pierre is certainly no slouch.

The last time I spoke with Erica, she said they were going for a new route on Shipton Spire. The news reports mention K2 at every turn, but this was not their objective. My guess is that they were heading to the K2 basecamp for a party before returning home.

If anyone has heard from Pierre, please share the info.

Andy


moabbeth


Jul 13, 2005, 7:32 PM
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I deleted my original post from when it appeared she perished in an avalanche, I was devasasted that she might be lost but now I'm holding on to hope she's out there. But after reading Michelle's post, I'm going to repost the story that was inside of it to share with her friends and family:

Erica was lliving in Moab from October 2003-April 2004, climbing hard routes and putting up new first ascents. She worked waitressing at Moab Brewery while there to support herself. I rolled into Moab for my usual Octobers in Moab. I was so stoked to see her again since I hadn't seen her since the valley a few months before. One Saturday, my friends Bill, Joe, Skip and I headed up Sand Flats to a seldom climbed rock called Elvis' Hammer (it's shaped like a hammer, I have photos of it in the photo section of my profile). The four of us spent the day up there. Joe led. It was solid 11 and had seen less than 10 ascents since it was first done. It was a tough lead. Literally Joe got physically ill on it. But he got up it in proud style. The rest of us went up there. Great climb but hard everything....small fingers and edging at the start, huge wide offwidth right before a challenging roof move at the top. By the end of the day when we were back at our rigs we cracked out some beer, Skip put on some tunes and we toasted to a great day of climbing.

We ended up at Moab Brewery for dinner that night and I introduced the guys to Erica. We told her about the rad climb we'd done that day. She thought it sounded really fun and said since she didn't have to work til 3pm the next day, that she'd head up there in the morning and do it! Of course the guys I was with were like "cool, a girl that likes hard leads" but were still kinda skeptical that this cute little thing could send a lead like that, especially since she'd just had foot surgery a couple months prior and had to wear a running shoe on one foot instead of a climbing shoe to climb in to protect her foot's recovery.

The next morning we were back up Sand Flats, planning to do Rhino's Horn, a tower next to Elvis' Hammer. There was Erica's car. We hiked in and you have to go past the Hammer to get to the rim to RH. We look up and there's Erica at the roof. She'd already led all the hard 11a up to it with a goddamn running shoe on one foot. Stuff I struggled and grovelled through with 2 good shoes and feet the day prior. She made the climb look effortless. The guys looked up at her leading with awe and were like "that girl can CLIMB!!!" She took a couple falls at the roof then BOOM, pulled that thing and summitted. We all let out LOUD cheers for her and she looked over from the top and laughed. Of course she when she got down she was all embarassed and sheepish to our loud cheers and congradulations (she has NO ego when it comes to climbing, such a rarity for someone so talented). She said "oh, I didn't do that well on it. I didn't get it clean." To which we were like "are you nuts? You cruised it...and with one shoe!!"

Hugs, congradulations and then we headed off to Rhino's Horn. And she would then head off to work at the Brewery. Just another morning of climbing for Erica. Life is her playground. She always makes the most of every moment she can be on or near rock. So much life and spirit.

I know she's still out there, somewhere.


moabbeth


Jul 13, 2005, 7:47 PM
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*deleted when learned she was not in the avalanche/news link was wrong. See my above post as an example of what an extraordinary climber and person Erica is**


jgardnerphoto


Jul 13, 2005, 8:26 PM
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http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=3592271

found this on one of the news sites...might be a little better news than an avalanche. at least this gives a little more hope...

i really hope that she's ok. spent plenty of time running from rangers and playing all the camp 4 games with her and pierre.

anyone with real info please update us.


peanutbutter


Jul 15, 2005, 12:41 AM
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It looks like the avalanche was the wrong story, but there is some good info over at supertopos, look for a thread with Erica's name in it.

pb


elepita


Jul 15, 2005, 4:18 AM
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I briefly met Erica last May in Yosemite, I hope she is found okay, my best wishes to her and her family. Sorry to hear all this.


ericasbestfriend


Jul 15, 2005, 8:46 AM
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news about erica kutcher [In reply to]
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thank you guys for your wonderful messages. it's wonderful and not so surprising to hear all these amazing things about erica.

i am erica's best friend--from the age of 2 till today. sadly there is no more information to report than what has already been reported in the media--that she went for a walk after lunch last saturday at her's and pierre's base camp at shipton spire and has not returned (the avalanche story is totally false). we have assurances that the embassy in islmabad is doing--and is putting pressure on the pakistani government to do--everything they can to find erica. pierre is in skardu, 60 miles from skardu, coordinating the search effort. there has been tons of press here in new york. if anyone wants to read more about her, i have included a few links:
NEWSDAY:
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-limiss0714,0,7874864.story
DAILY NEWS: http://www.nydailynews.com/07-14-2005/news/story/327976p-280323c.html
NY POST:
http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/25968.htm
Pictures of Erica in Moab:
http://images.climbingmoab.com/album/sized/580.jpghttp://images.climbingmoab.com/album/sized/591.jpg


i've shared your stories with erica's family and i ask anyone out there who has climbed with erica to post stories. those of us who grew up with erica are going to get together this weekend to share our stories about her though none of us has ever climbed with her. i would love to be able to share your stories and thoughts as well.

thank you all of your thoughts and prayers. let's hope our beloved eri comes home soon.

thanks,
michelle


epic_ed


Jul 15, 2005, 10:47 AM
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epic_ed moved this thread from Aid Climbing to World Climbing News.

**Changed title of thread to more accurately indicate topic.**


epic_ed


Jul 15, 2005, 10:59 AM
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I, too, have been blessed by getting to hang out with Erica. I met both of them and shared a few meal in C4 last June, and was working on Zodiac when her and Pierre came up and sent it in a day. In fact, I have a few great photos of her at home from the C4 parking lot that I'll post later. She is an absolute doll, incredibly down to earth, and wicked talented. I hope they find her very soon -- it would be a tremendous loss to the climbing community, and I can only imagine how people she has touched and lives she's influenced in her travels.

Ed


paganmonkeyboy


Jul 15, 2005, 11:46 AM
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Re: Erica Kutcher missing in Pakistan [In reply to]
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Not a lot of details in that article... :(
I sincerely hope they find her alive and well - this has to be rough on all concerned...
Regards,
tom


the_alpine


Jul 15, 2005, 12:02 PM
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I first met Erica and Pierre during the summer of 2004. They had just finished a major epic on some obscure route on the Captain named Realm of the Flying Monkies. Something about lots of heat, no water and then bad water culminating in a nasty stomach virus for the both of them. They were both puking and on the toilet for days. Somehow her and Pierre got wind that a friend and I were going for a stroll up the RNWF and they wanted us to use their rack. Why? So we could leave it up there and they could climb the route sub 4 hours the next day. After summiting we hiked back down to the base and chilled for a while, waiting for Erica and Pierre. As the sun crept lower in the sky and we still had no sign of the two ropeguns, we decided to head back down the slabs with their gear (as opposed to leaving it). By night fall we were back in Camp 4 dirty, tired and ready to pass out. In the morning we found Pierre and Erica (sick again from the stomach bug) and walked to my friends truck in the parking lot to return their gear.

"Uhhhhh, Justin... Why is there no back window in your truck?"
"Uhhhh...."
"Uhhhh, Justin... Where are our packs from the climb?"

We had been beared. Apparently we forgot about some stinky food wrappers in our packs. It was bad enough that all of our personal equipment was gone - harnesses, shoes, helmets, yadda yaddda, but we had just lost someone else's rack!

"Its alright Ericka and Pierre, you guys didn't need that gear anyways, right?"

Dumbfounded and speechless, there was only one place I could turn to in such a dire time - the cafeteria. It was glorious. George was there flipping perfectly golden flapjacks, Coiler was washing the windows, Cedar, Ammon, Ivo, Dave, Nick and all the other monkies were in their usual back corner spot, kids were chasing squirrels under the tables - truly magical. With the last bite of my pancake though, the dread returned - we had lost Pierre and Ericka's rack. It was time to return to campo quattro and get to business.

As we crossed the road and stepped into the dusty lot, a young man walked up to us and asked if we had lost some packs full of gear.
"Actually, ya..." we responded.
"Some old bum-guy found a bunch of stuff in the woods over there"

I train my eyes over to where he pointed and couldn't help but laugh. The old bum guy was, of course, Chongo, and he was strolling towards us arms brimming with harnesses, shoes, quickdraws, aliens and OE. That friggin' guy... You gotta love him.

So the day was saved...by Chongo, who in the middle of the night, heroically battled a ferocious bear to the very edge of life and emerged victorious with Ericka and Pierre's rack.


jgardnerphoto


Jul 15, 2005, 12:14 PM
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I'd have to say that my favorite Erica and Pierre moments are from last summer. Any monkeys that were in the valley will remember the famed Realm of the Flying Monkeys push. That one was really amazing, interesting study in how far can someone push it before they really get hurt.

Erica and Pierre took 70 oz. of water between them for the route and just a handful of food (thinking that they'd only be up for 18 hours tops) 40+hours later they stumbled back into camp 4. Pierre told me that that was the closest he's ever come to buying the farm and if Eirca hadn't known/blasted up the final West Butt finish he'd have been done for.

Then there was the little game that they played in camp. They both would stand on opposite sides of the slackline. One would put the line right against their stomachs while the other started pulling the line back like one of those water-ballon launchers. When the desire to not get snapped in half overwhelmed the desire to win the person awaiting the smack would call pull and the other would let go. Erica would always win...she'd let pierre pull as far as he physically could and when he'd say so then she'd tell him to let it go. The line would knock her back a good few feet but she never lost.

My thoughts are with the both of them and I hope that Erica comes back to all of us. Camp 4 (and indeed, the whole of the western US) wouldn't be the same without her.


vivalargo


Jul 15, 2005, 6:43 PM
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Hope for the best. Stranger things have happened than someone stumbling out of the wilderness after a week or so -- but not much stranger.

JL


moabbeth


Jul 15, 2005, 8:17 PM
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Nice story alpine. Poor Erica, that's twice in one year her rack was taken. Unfortunately, in early April she was going to head out here to climb in Idyllwild and someone broke into her car in Tucson and stole all her gear. And her boyfriend was hit by a car while on his bike, so 2 reasons she couldn't make it out.

But of course when I was talking on the phone to Erica and she told me that news, it was with humor and sunshine in her voice, not totally bummed with the world like the rest of us would sound. You know how you can always tell on the phone when a person is smiling by the tone of their voice....how it sounds like their happy even though they may not be? That's how she'd sound. Always. I don't think I ever saw her without a smile on.

Last summer she and a partner soloed Cathedral Peak where they role played as trad girl and sporto boy, complete with fake superhero karate fights at belay legde areas and improvised dialogue about which superhero would win ("I won't let you bolt that move sporto boy!!"). She ALWAYS finds a way to make climbs fun. She's got more spirit towards climbing that anyone I've ever met.


jgardnerphoto


Jul 16, 2005, 9:33 AM
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so i just got this email...hope this helps to clear up all the false stuff going around and like Pierre says, lets just keep praying and hoping for Eirca.




Hey all,

I have to bring you some very sad news from our trip to Pakistan.


On saturday the 9th of July, Erica Kutcher was out walking the glacier near our basecamp. The weather was good with blue sky and no wind. Erica was walking alone. She told me she was going for a short walk, it was our second restday in camp after much climbing. Erica left camp between one and two pm. She did not return. We did a search that evening (starting at five pm) and all night and the next day. At one pm on Sunday I called for army helicopters and we did a full air search on Monday the 11th of July with the help of two helicopters. We found no trace of her. The search is still going on.

I am missing my very best friend and climbing partner, we pray and hope for her every second.

I am currently in the little town of Skardu, talking to officials about the incident, Skardu is located 10 hours by jeep and tre long days hiking from basecamp.

Please inform anyone we know about this,

pierre


vivalargo


Jul 16, 2005, 10:10 AM
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Someone of Erica´s experience is unlikely to get lost on a glacier, even the maze like ones found on the Braldu. And if she wandered away from the hardpack for reasons unknown you´d think two helicoptors and a day and a half search on foot would have turned up something.

Sort of feel worthless just sitting here not able to do anything. Maybe if we all shounted loud enough Erica would shout back. . .

JL


epic_ed


Jul 16, 2005, 11:02 AM
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Thanks for posting that email from Pierre. I wish it was better news. As promised, here's a couple of photos:

Pierre and Erica at the base of Zodiac:
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=57746

Erica on the poi balls:
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=57745


epic_ed


Jul 16, 2005, 11:04 AM
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Thanks for posting that email from Pierre. I wish it was better news. As promised, here's a couple of photos:

Pierre and Erica at the base of Zodiac:
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=57746

Erica on the poi balls:
http://www.rockclimbing.com/...p.cgi?Detailed=57745


sdc


Jul 16, 2005, 2:49 PM
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As one of many very concerned family members, I am not above trying anything and everything to locate the whereabouts of Erica Kutcher and return her to safety as quickly as possible... I admit to having contacted a psychic known to assist in missing persons investigations and for what it is worth, there was mention of persons having gone "right over me” and “thought she would be found” and again, they “went right over me." I am without any clue of the area in which Erica traveled and can only suggest and hope that this be given some consideration...


courtney


Jul 17, 2005, 1:58 AM
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Hi Everyone...couldn't sleep. Had to write. Hope you enjoy a few Erica stories and that everyone takes this in the spirit with which it is meant: hope and love, Courtney

Dear Erica,
It’s just after midnight urban Santa Barbara time on Sunday July 17th. I can’t even begin to calculate through my sobs of hope and fear what time it is in Pakistan. I just know it’s been a week since you went out for your hike and haven’t come back--yet.

Statistics tell me you’re dead. My heart and soul hope that you are alive. I want you to know, either way, you are, were, and will be one of the inspirational women in my life. I think of you and I want to go out and do big things. I think of you and I smile.

The first time I met you, you were wearing green plastic Incredible Hulk hands about twenty times larger than life from some sort of Halloween costume that I think you somehow found on a shopping trip to the great shopping Mecca of Mariposa, pretend boxing with one of the guys who so generously shared his salad with me (probably to conjure up some female companionship in the scarcity thereof in Camp 4). You jumped up on his back and he swung you around in circles while you pretended to use your superpowers to fend him off.

My first impressions of you were that you were spunky, hot, vivacious, and probably just a bit too thin for your own good. I learned more about you from the usual suspects – one of my favorite tales being how you took a hula hoop up El Cap and hooped three thousand feet off the Valley floor. I, like everyone else, love being in your presence—you make everything so fun.

Being the superhero you are, you soon came to my rescue. You and Hollywood, (a.k.a. Scott Stanley) saved me from the entertainment starved Tourons the night Lincoln was away and I, as the volunteer to the climbing ranger, had to host the weekly climbing film, but could not get the video projector to work. Somehow, instinctively, I knew you would save a sister in trouble. As I fumbled with the video connection and the crowd in the Village amphitheater grew restless, I had an idea and got on the mike.

“While I am sorting out this technology, I’d like to ask Erica and Hollywood, two real life climbers, to come forward to talk to you about what it’s like to climb in Yosemite,” I announced over the P.A. system, giving you zero warning.

True to your style, you energetically sprung from your seat and fielded questions from the audience. They loved you and your authenticity. You were dressed in form-fitting navy blue sweats, a long-sleeved synthetic top, and a matching blue knit beanie with your super-cute little pig tails sticking out either side — all topped off with a headlamp. Hollywood, whose nickname origin still eludes me, was wearing a Hawaiian print shirt and was dashingly unshaven. The two of you captivated the audience with your frank, quick-witted Q&A. Hollywood remembers the questions and answers much better than I — I simply remember a great sense of relief and thankfulness that you were there. Eventually I got things sorted out, the audience saw the film, and we hung out and built human pyramids afterwards.

That night we planned a First Ascent of sorts -- an F.T.A. -- which, we to this day have yet to do.

I don’t know if tonight is your last, or if tonight is my last for that matter. I pray that you’re alive and that we get to do more of the things we have each planned. I want you to know, we are all thinking of you, cheering for you, and thankful you are in our lives. You might be physically by yourself at the moment, but know that spiritually, you are surrounded by loving friends, now and always.

I miss you.
Come home and play some more with us.
Love,
Courtney


homefriend


Jul 17, 2005, 5:46 PM
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Some inspiration while we still pray for Erica. It's a link to a teen who survived the tsunami after 10 days without food or water. Please feel free to include more inspirational stories like this one. Much love.

http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,11875313%255E1702,00.html


sedonagal


Jul 17, 2005, 6:52 PM
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geraldo (on fox) doing segment on erica tonight...


daisyb


Jul 17, 2005, 8:49 PM
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I love hearing all these stories about Eri. Er was my first friend (we were less than a year old) and is still to this day, my best best friend. We were inseparable growing up. It's so great to hear stories from her climbing buddies, about a part of her life that is so important to her that i don't know as well. Erica has this amazing energy and smile that is so contagious. She makes an impression and impacts your life, even if you have just met her for a few minutes. She is confident, sincere and so modest. I just wanted to let you all know that your stories about Erica are helping her close family and friends get through each day. We print them out and read them in the Kutcher home and it just makes us smile. Thank you all, and keep them coming.

-Sharon


epic_ed


Jul 17, 2005, 10:39 PM
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I just saw the segment on Geraldo -- they did more than just a mention, it was a full on segement with some good reporting and Erica's Mom and cousin were in the studio. It's nice to see it get this kind of publicity, because it may help influence the length and bredth of the investigation by the Pakistani government.

Some disturbing news from the segement for those of you who didn't see it:

- It seems that Pakistan has called off the formal search. No explanation given publically, but speculation abound.
- Pierre was taken into custody and interrogated last night. They asked him to sign a form indicating (admitting?) she was dead so they could close the case. It appears they are trying to implicate him in her disappearance, or they are trying to take the easy, convenient way out just to put this matter behind them. He was released this morning.
- I don't know Pierre very well, but he seemed like a top-notch guy to me. The trust level that he and Erica have established over the past few years during some very extreme adventures is one that would not easily be betrayed, and I would find it hard to believe he could have anything to do with her disappearance.
- The above has been offered as one reason the search was called off. Her Mom was also told by US officials that it was called off temporarily today because of weather and will resume with the addition of SAR dogs.
- Erica's cousin talked with Pierre today and Pierre plans to be involved in every way possible to assist the search.

A lot of conclusions can be drawn or implied from the above info, but I don't think it would be appropriate to speculate too much. I do know that Erica's Mom and cousin wanted to make clear that it is important that the audience, and we the climbing community do everything we can to pressure the State Department to keep looking for Erica and to ask them to put pressure on the Pakastani Government to provide all possible resources until Erica is found. I personally have a friend in the State Department who I will be writing after posting this message. She's not a big player, but every contact could help. If you know someone who could help assist in this search, please pull those strings and call in those favors now.

Ed


elepita


Jul 18, 2005, 7:20 AM
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Re: Erica Kutcher missing in Pakistan [In reply to]
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Hi all, any ``good´´ news on this?

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