Carl Landers - Strange disappearances US and Canadian National Parks

Carl Herbert Landers, Disappeared May 25th, 1999, Lake Helen, Mount Shasta, California, .

Carl Landers Mount Shasta disappearance

Carl Herbert Landers, a 69-year-old Orinda, California resident, disappeared on Mount Shasta, north of Sacramento, California during an attempt to climb to the summit on May 25th, 1999. He was accompanied by two friends, Milton Gaines and Barry Gillmore, who he had met through a local running club.

Mount Shasta or "White Mountain" is a potentially active volcano at the southern end of the Cascade Range in Siskiyou County, California. At an elevation of 14,179 feet (4321.8 m), it is the second-highest peak in the Cascades and the fifth-highest in the state. The mountain and surrounding area are part of the Shasta–Trinity National Forest.

Helen Lake to Mount Shasta trail

Helen Lake to Mount Shasta trail

Mount Shasta

Carl's colleagues and friends described him as an experienced climber, hiker, and distance runner in good shape. For 30 years he had run every morning and even completed the Boston Marathon in 5 hours 30 minutes. In his later years, he had the ambition to climb the highest peaks in every county of California. In May 1998, a year before he disappeared he climbed Mount Shasta, but didn't manage to reach the summit and vowed to return to reach the peak.

The route they planned started at Bunny Flat Trailhead, at 6,860 ft, a distance to the summit of Mount Shasta of around 6 miles. From Bunny Flat to Lake Helen 10,443 ft, a distance of 3.5 miles, taking around 3-4 hours. From Lake Helen its a 3-6 hour climb to the summit, 2-3 hrs back to Lake Helen and 2 hrs with backpack down to the trailhead. 

The night before the group's visit to Mount Shasta, the three men stayed together in a motel. They left the motel at 4 am, equipped with ice axes, crampons and climbing clothing and left for the trailhead at Bunny Flat, an area which was well covered in deep snow drifts. From there they hiked 4 miles to a place called Horse Camp. The next night they camped at a location on the mountain called 50/50 plateau, below Lake Helen, where most climbers spend the night before the last push up to the summit.

50/50 Plateau Mount Shasta

50/50 Plateau Mount Shasta

Carl was taking a drug called Diamox (Acetazolamide) to combat the effects of altitude sickness. He was also suffering from diarrhoea and had to leave the tent several times during the night to relieve himself in the midst of a blowing gale. In the morning he still complained of feeling unwell, and he left the 50/50 location without his friends to get a head start up towards Lake Helen as he was feeling cold. The lake is a short distance around the mountain from the campsite and at a slightly higher elevation. He was wearing 2-3 layers of clothes including a rust coloured coat, ski pants, plus boots with crampons. 

View from Lake Helen South Mount Shasta

View from Lake Helen South Mount Shasta

His friends subsequently left the camp around 30 minutes after Carl. After a short time, Barry returned to the tent which was left at 50:50 as he too wasn't feeling well  Milt, therefore, got to Lake Helen on his own and he asked a ranger if he had seen anyone passing through on the way to the mountain. He replied that he had seen only one person, so Milt tried up to catch up, but subsequently discovered he was way too fast to be Carl and he turned back and asked the ranger again but to no avail. So Milt headed back to 50:50 to meet Barry, hoping Carl would be there. This was around 5 pm.
Unfortunately, Carl wasn't back at the tent, he had vanished. Milt then decided to hike back to Bunny Flats at around 8 pm and notify the Siskiyou County Sheriff that Carl had disappeared.
The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department started searching the area the next morning after Carl was reported missing on a grid pattern basis, using the National Guard air ambulance helicopter and a CHP helicopter equipped with an infrared sensing device called FLIR. A ground search was conducted by U.S. Forest Rangers and volunteers on skis and on foot. The helicopter pilot took professional climbers to the summit and they descended the mountain using separate routes at different points on the compass. Despite this extensive search, they found no sign of Carl on the mountain. Neither his body, clothing, backpack, or other equipment. There were no footprints in the snow and nothing to suggest that he was ever in the area of Mount Shasta.

Grizz Adams

Grizz Adams

The search effort was headed by a man named Grizz Adams and during an interview with David Paulides he said "In 35 years I've never had this happen to me…we were all over that mountain, he was not on the mountain…we brought canines in, they didn't pick him up…we flew around it, we dropped guys at the summit, they came down all sides, they couldn't find him…they talked to people who were on the mountain, they didn't see him…there's snow around the path where he was, and nobody went outside the path…" When Paulides asked Grizz Adams what he thought happened to Carl Landers on the mountain, he replied: "…that's the million dollar question, he either went up, or in-but he's not on it.".

County Sheriff's spokeswoman Susan Gravenkamp."We've just looked everywhere that we can look, and we just don't know where else to look".

To this day nothing has ever been found, not even a trace of his equipment, and it is assumed that Carl disappeared somewhere between 50/50 plateau and Lake Helen as no tracks were spotted off trail. The topography of the are makes it very difficult for someone to disappear and there are no obvious crevices, nor is there any dense vegetation or trees which would obscure a body. Even after cadaver sniffing and human scent dogs were used, they detected nothing.

With the Native American importance of the mountain and the many stories they tell about Mount Shasta, they have a wary respect and probably for good reason.

Legends and stories about Mount Shasta

There are many stories, legends and myths about Mount Shasta.

The Shasta, Wintu, Achumawi, Atsugewi and Modoc tribes all have territory around the mountain and conduct many sacred ceremonies. The Native Americans believe that the mountain was the sacred centre of the universe and being the home of the creator and the Wintu tribe trace their people's origin back to a sacred spring in the area.

Then there is the story of the Lemurians, a race of higher-dimensional beings, and Telos, the crystal city inside the mountain. Legend says they originally lived in the ancient continent of Lemuria that was in the North Pacific Ocean many thousands of years ago and went to war with Atlantis. The Lemurians fled inside Mount Shasta and in the 1940's there were apparent reports of people who were 7 feet tall, dressed in long white robes and sandals going to the general store to buy supplies, and paid for their purchases with chunks of gold. The shopkeeper would take the gold, turn around and try to give them change, and the Lemurian had disappeared.

Some locals believe the saucer-shaped lenticular clouds that often gather at the summit of Mount Shasta are engineered by the Lemurians to camouflage alien cargo ships docking at Telos.