James Kim

I’ve let myself get completely wrapped up in the whole story, since the moment I first heard about the missing person’s report on SF Metroblogging. Apparently I’m not alone.

But I don’t get it.

What happened that caused the Kims to get stuck? Did a tire go flat? Did they go off the road? With hours, and then days on hand, you’d think they’d spend every waking second trying to get their car unstuck. Could there have been too much snow on the road to drive? Maybe they didn’t think they had enough gas to finish the trip (or backtrack the way they came)? Yet they had enough gas to run the engine and keep the heat on. How do you have enough ingenuity to burn your car’s tires, but not get a car unstuck? And why haven’t these questions been asked by reporters, at least of the rescuers?

Did they expect that someone would eventually come by, so they decided to just wait it out? After a few hours (let alone days!) I’d be going crazy scheming of ways to get out. The average person can walk a mile in about 20 minutes. If the car was indeed immobile, why didn’t James Kim set out immediately either up the road (one day) or down the road (the next day) to try and find help? In 6 hours he could have walked at least 18 miles. Why did he wait a week to go off in search of help? Why did he decide to turn off the road? Apparently about a mile from where they were stranded was a resort, closed for the winter, but certainly something they could have broken into for greater shelter—and a location the search teams repeatedly searched. Were they worried about wild animals? Bears perhaps?

My heart is completely torn out in empathy for their family, but so much doesn’t make sense. Why did this story have to end with such indescribable tragedy?



My heart goes out to the Kims too. SO sad. I don’t know anything more that you but I’ve driven in the mountain like areas they were in. But I am only guessing with my ideas here.

I would say they got stuck on an impassible road. Snow covering the road or white out conditions caused them to stop.

As far as being able to walk far distances, it’s not easy in really snowy mountain conditions. The freezing temps and making your way through unplowed snow would make it difficult.

Why he waited so long? I think he tried to stay with his family (experts say to stay with the vehicle) but got desperate to find a way to help his family.

So heart breaking.

Everyone has theories about what they would do in these kind of situations but when you are out there in the cold its doubtlessly very different.

The mailtribune (with lots of details) says that he walked down the road initially but then ran into a bear which followed him down into the river.

It also says they got off on to a side road by accident. My father confirmed this, he said the roads are basically a maze of forest service and blm roads.

I understand how they thought that the road to the coast that way was shorter, it is by distance, but locals don’t even take that road in the summer because it takes so long. But why did they pass 3 orange signs warning about snow drifts?

I always made fun of my Oregon family (who have lived on that river for 6 generations) for carrying the Gazetteer and 7 guns any time they went into the woods. I am shut up.


Having had my car stuck in deep snow where the entire car bottom was resting on packed snow and I was without a shovel so there was little I could do to free it. Luckily a snow plow happened by and pulled it out otherwise I would have been stranded much longer. I can fully understand how several tons of car can get hopelessly stuck in this situation. Nevertheless it’s a very sad story.

Oooh *two* Joys?

Joy L, wow yeah, I guess so. I totally thought Joy #1 was you. It took me a second to know what you meant. Funny how closely we relate first names and identity on blogs.


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