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Geographical Index > United States > California > Siskiyou County > Report # 22434
Report # 22434  (Class A)
Submitted by witness on Thursday, December 20, 2007.
Backpacker sighting off the PCT in the Marble Mountains Wilderness
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YEAR: 1998

SEASON: Summer

MONTH: August


STATE: California

COUNTY: Siskiyou County

LOCATION DETAILS: I can confirm the exact location at a later time when I access my map.


NEAREST ROAD: Etna Summit Hwy 3

OBSERVED: In 1998, I was backpacking by myself in the Marble Mountain WIlderness in the Klamath National Forest the third week of August. The Klamath and the Marbles are particularly rugged and steep terrain.

I hiked from Etna Summit at the PCT trailhead and looped all the way through the Wooley Creek drainage, attempting to get to the Cal-Salmon River. My attempt failed and I hiked to Little Elk Lake and on out to the group of lakes outside of Lovers Camp trailhead for the full distance.

On day one I hiked over 14 miles on the PCT south from Etna SUmmit. On day two I left the PCT and hiked to a large marble outcropped ledge above the Wooley Creek drainage below a large, unnamed peak. (I can consult my map for a definite location, but do not have one available at this exact time). The night of my second day out, I slept on this nice marble ledge, beside a small creek about 2 feet wide that was more of an ice drainage from the steep, glacial peak above. This creek ran down the ledge and off a cliff that is about a 200 feet drop to a boulder field below and about 800 feet (or more) down to the Wooley Creek drainage. The 200 foot cliff below the ledge is VERY steep and to a tradational climber would be rated at least a 5.9 or 5.10 chaucy climb.

So, there I was, in my purple Marmot bag, all cozy and tucked in. The night was clear and was about 4 days before the full moon in late August, so it was bright. I was sleeping parallel to the little brook running along the Marble Ledge and about 15 feet from its banks. I fell asleep and woke up to a wierd noise that was very far away. I was already frightened of animals because I was by myself. It does not matter, but I am also female. I was scared out there by myself. But having the time of a life.

The noise so far away seemed to be way down in the forest in the Wooley Creek drainage. It was loud, however, almost like a yelling or a whooping. It was consistent and occured one yell after the other. I didn't worry too much, and was not concerned because it was so far away. The yelling truly happened one after the other. And, it was getting louder and perhaps closer. I still was not concerned as it was far enough and I was atop a huge cliff, so I felt safe and unreachable. However, the yelling got louder and closer yet, and started to travel up the boulder field below. At this point, I had heard the yelling for 20 minutes. Again, it was a consistent howl, or whoop, over and over again. I just laid still in my bag and realized that not only was this yelling thing was coming up the boulder field but coming up the cliff. Sure enough the creature was climbing up the cliff. AND FAST! The whole event was this thing running and hooting/inward drone yelling up the drainage, up and up to the cliff and beyond to the top of the peak. Sure enough when it got to the cliff it pulled and climbed itself up "swiftly and agile" as I put in my journal. It literally dyno'd every move on this 5.9 cliff and yanked itself up the cliff to the top where the ledge was, where I was. The creature, in the mean time, was still consistently calling/yelping/hooting. It got to the ledge and started running toward the peak above. As it got closer, I pretty much urinated in my sleeping bag. But I just laid still; I was extremely frightened. As it started to approach the ledge close to where I was, on the other side of the brook, I could see it. It was a silhouette of a huge running gorilla. It ran on two legs but dragged and pulled with its arms. It was huge. The arms were almost the length of half its body and was covered in hair. It was black, but I really only saw a silhouette. The head reminded me of the abominable snowman from the Christmas, Rudolph movie.

It just ran and howled, but then stopped slightly when it was parallel to me. It stopped howling, and slowed down slightly, and kind of hesitated. It turned its head toward me as if smelling something, but then immediately turned forward and really started running even faster. And louder and faster and then climbed up to the top of the peak and called and called for nearly four hours straight. Until almost sunrise. I stayed awake the whole time. I got up the next day and entered a short entry in my journal and packed up and continued on my journey.

ALSO NOTICED: It was multiple hours of the calling.

OTHER WITNESSES: 1- sleeping in the wilderness in a sleeping bag with no tent

OTHER STORIES: Similar sound and call the year earlier, but the creature was in distress the year earlier and the call was only for a few minutes. This year it was for many hours.

TIME AND CONDITIONS: Late night, after midnight, from about 1 or 2 AM to 5 AM. weather was warm and clear, cool night, almost full moon

ENVIRONMENT: Marble formation geologic ledge, below a peak, above a river valley full of douglas fir and oaks.

Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Brandon Kiel:

I spoke with the witness for roughly two hours and despite the incident being almost 10 years ago she was still very detailed and emotional.

In the years before the incident she and friends would go to this area on the weekends, so she was very familiar and felt comfortable here. During this time she was working for the Forest Service and on her time off would hike the lesser known spots of this area. At the time of this incident she had decided to solo hike about 100 miles of the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT) and had set out on a route when she noticed a small lake on the map she wanted to visit.

On the second day of the hike she made her way five miles off the PCT to the small lake and decided to set up camp for the night. The lake was towered over by a peak that rose roughly 1500 feet. From the base of the peak, about 1000 feet up was an outcropping that she describes as being "completely flat, 50 yards in length and 200 feet in width". The lake is situated below this in a meadow that ends in a cliff that is roughly 200 feet tall and descends at a 90 degree angle. The base of the cliff was strewn with rocks shed by the cliff face and it then opens up into a drainage.

After exploring the area a little she decided to set up her camp on the outcropping away from the lake as she had seen numerous bear sign and didn't want any trouble as she slept. After eating dinner and settling in she went to sleep at about 8 p.m. She states that the moon was almost full and very bright.

At about midnight she was awakened by a loud but very faint wailing that was coming from about 2 miles deep in the drainage area. She says that the wailing was consistent and repetitive with about one call every two seconds. As she lay awake listening she could hear that gradually the sound was getting louder and louder, moving at a higher rate of speed in her direction. At this point she wasn't overly concerned as there was a cliff and the peak face between her and the animal. She states she was very confident that whatever was making the noise would not be able to climb the cliff that the meadow overlooked.

After about 30 minutes of nonstop calling she was able to clearly hear the animal's approach. She stated that it was "obviously, definitely bipedal...there was no doubt in my mind that this was something very large running at a high rate of speed on two legs with a tremendous lung capacity". Shortly thereafter she heard what sounded like rocks being overturned in addition to the wailing and running and she realized that the animal was ascending the rock field at the base of the cliff. That was followed by the sound of the animal pulling itself up the cliff face at a good pace; the wailing was mixed with the grunts and gasps of the steep ascent. It was as this point that she involuntarily urinated in her sleeping bag due to fright. She said she was overcome with the notion that somehow this animal knew she was there and was coming for her; seeking her out.

The reporter made her way to the edge of the outcropping and was able to see the animal breach the cliff, slow to catch its breath, begin the wailing again, and then start running through the meadow straight for the base of the peak. She described the animal's silhouette as looking "like a large, lean gorilla/human mix. It was very much upright with a slight bend forward, the shoulders were broad and wide, the head was close to the shoulders with no real neck being visible, the knees were at a 45 degree angle, the arms were extremely long and very muscular". She saw hair of about 3" in length moving as it ran. She stated that as it ran the animal was stooped over and using it's arms to help propel itself forward, almost as if it was using them to run faster.

She made her way back to her sleeping bag and felt the only thing she could do was get inside and try to be as small, still, and quiet as possible. At this point the animal is still wailing and she could hear it begin to climb the peak. After only a few minutes it reached the outcropping, pulled itself up and was about 25 feet away from her. The animal seemed to be a bit out of breath and briefly stopped its wailing. Seemingly still not aware of her it hesitated, smelled the air for a few seconds, and then turned to look at her. It appeared to be stunned and caught off guard by her presence. She said that after only a few seconds it screamed again much louder and then continued straight up the peak much faster than she had seen it before.

The animal continued its cries as it climbed the peak and once making it to the top (she felt) it settled itself and then began to make a different call: much louder, lower in register, and very deliberate. By now it was about 2 a.m. She stated that the animal continued to call over and over and over until about 5:30 am. She sat awake the entire night listening to it, not able, or wanting, to sleep. At about 5:30 am the animal stopped and she felt it must have descended the opposite side; she never heard it leave.

The witness waited awake until first light and then packed her gear and left the area. She said she never heard the animal again. She also says she never heard anything respond to the animals calls. She felt the animal was definitely male as she could not see any breasts but did note a broad thick chest.

I feel very much that the witness had this encounter and that she is telling the truth. She came off as being very genuine, sincere, detailed, and forthright.

About BFRO Investigator Brandon Kiel:

Brandon Kiel is a professional photographer and naturalist living in the Bay Area.

He was the chief coordinator of Northern California Expeditions for 7 years and has planned/attended more than 20 expeditions throughout the US.

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