Beech 18 AT-7 Navigator Copyright Museum of Flight - all rights reserved

October, 2008


a blog by Peter Stekel

FINAL FLIGHT is the story of four aviators lost in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks on November 18, 1942

FINAL FLIGHT, coming from Wilderness Press in 2010

Read more about FINAL FLIGHT here.

October 14
Pre-order my new book, Best Hikes Near Seattle, from HERE. Other sources for on-line ordering HERE.

Best Hikes Near Seattle should be out by January 19, 2009 and is being published by Falcon Books, an imprint of Globe/Pequot Books. Featuring more than 40 of the best hikes in the greater Seattle metro area, this exciting new guidebook points locals and visitors alike to trailheads within an hour's drive of Seattle. There are lots of photos plus introductory chapters covering weather, topography, history, flora & fauna, and a whole bunch more.

October 7
On my way home from California, I stopped in Fresno to consult with Steve Johnson - a meteorologist who operates a cloud-seeding company. Steve holds a masters degree in meteorology from Colorado State University and he lives and breathes weather and climate. He has made a study of the weather for November 18, 1942 - not only the weather for that day but all the factors which lead up to it.

I'm not going to tell you about Steve's data - it is far too .

Here is why:

Steve Johnson

For many years Steve Johnson has flown over the Sierra - especially the country over Kings Canyon National Park. He knows the Sierra from the ground and the air. This makes him an important person in my mind because he holds the key as to not only how, but why, Lt. Gamber crashed on November 18, 1942.

Isn't that tantalizing?

Between what Steve told me, and what I learned when I met with Laura Edwards and John Lewis at the Desert Research Center in Reno, NV on Thursday, September 18th, I have finally learned what happened to Lt. Gamber and his three student navigators.

Laura Edwards

John Lewis

And, guess what? I'm not going to tell you.

That is how significant their information is. Final Flight will be released by Wilderness Press in late 2009 or early 2010 and you will have to wait until then to learn what happened in 1942. The world has waited this long - another year won't hurt. These three meteorologists and climatologists have helped me "crack the code" as biologists once said before Watson & Crick discerned the structure of DNA.

The story is more tragic than I ever thought it could be.

October 6

A few photos from my trip to Mendel Glacier with Scott, Jim, and Gabe Shriver September 21-23. We camped at Upper Lamarck Lake. Jim and Gabe and I made a long [12+ hour] day hike from dawn-to-dark to reach the glacier and return. Don't forget to check out my YouTube videos from both of my trips to the Mendel Glacier HERE. Scott and Jim are the nephews of Glenn Munn. Gabe is Jim's son. We had a great, if tiring time. The following day, Scott and Gabe flew over the crash site.

Jim, Scott, & Gabe Shriver the North Lake trailhead.







Jim & Gabe near the spot where Glenn Munn was found, August 2007.



Jim, Gabe, and Peter on Lamarck Col.

October 5
I've posted some new videos of Darwin Canyon and Mendel Glacier on YouTube. The videos come from my two trips in September to the glacier. See them HERE.
October 4

Images of Mendel Glacier

September, 2008

Since 2007, some parts of this rock glacier appear to my untrained eye to have subsided between 5 and 6 feet in depth. Recall that Mendel Glacier is a combination of ice and rock. This is very different from popular concepts of a glacier - essentially one huge ice cube. As the ice melts in a rock glacier, the rocks [some as big as your house] are left behind to cover the ground. Anything that lay on top of, below the, or within the ice, is then covered by a field of rock.

"Clean" glaciers melt back, upstream, depositing anything within the ice at the foot of the glacier.

For those of you who have ever climbed or hiked crosscountry within the Sierra Nevada, imagine a field of endless talus... That is what is left behind by the melting rock glacier.

For those of you who have no idea - notice the people in some of these landscape images- they will give an idea of the scale of this place. The Mendel Glacier may be small by Sierran standards yet the Mendel Cirque is a very large place with very large features making it extremely difficult to locate such small objects as an airplane. Or people.


People & ice

hikers & rock

Mendel Cirque

Engine wreckage

Mendel Glacier bergschrund

Beech 18 wing

Melting ice






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copyright 2010 Peter Stekel all rights reserved

FINAL FLIGHT, coming from Wilderness Press in 2010



Final Flight, Mendel, Mendel Glacier, Sierra Nevada, Peter Stekel, Leo Mustonen, Ernest Munn, William Gamber, John Mortenson, Kings Canyon National Park, Beech 18, AT-7, plane crash, mummy, JPAC, Wilderness Press, finalflightthebook, blog, 41-21070, airplane, lenticular cloud, hypoxia, navigation, wilderness