Category Archives: James Kim

The James and Kati Kim Ordeal: comments on the 20/20 story

This blog has previously written extensively on the Kim tragedy. The new account on 20/20 narrated by Kati Kim provides some new information, but omits important details and seems to change other parts of the story.

1. The lodge at Gold Beach advised them not to try the trip because of the distance, the hour, and the fact that the lodge was hard to find. According to Kati, James insisted. Then they miss the turn by 16 miles. They still persist in their objective. We still do not know if the Kims had consumed alcohol before leaving Portland.

2. The previously reported stop at a convenience store in Merlin was not mentioned. Did this happen or not? apparently they did not get gas. Did James ask for directions there or anywhere? Kati must know the answer.

3. The story of their turn off Bear Camp Road onto the logging road is glossed over. Earlier accounts said they passed the turn, encountered rocks in the road, stopped, backed up, and turned onto the logging road. The 20/20 account makes it seem as though this sequence of events happened much later (long after they simply blindly turned onto the logging road), at the place where they stopped their vehicle. The original story suggests very poor judgment, the latter implies a recurring inattention to the road in a situation where they both knew it was possible to get lost.

4. The failure of the Josephine County SAR to investigate the early report of tracks on the logging road is glossed over to the point of misrepresentation; co-ordinator Ruprecht doesn’t appear in the 20/20 piece until James leaves the family, when she is reportedly told (erroneously) that she can stop searching. Further, the failure to mobilize “ground troops”, after the cell tower was identified, seems to have been a major shortcoming, as pointed out by the pilot who found Kati.
Rupeecht’s degree of responsibility for the death of James Kim is not addressed.
5. The 20 20 report makes it seem as though James Kims and later Kati left the car and wandered through the forest. This is not true; they walked along the road (James later wandered off the road). The Kims and their vehicle were not lost in a roadless wilderness. They were on a road.
6. The report that James was going to run a mile up the road confirms his deteriorated state of mind and his impending hypothermia. No mention was made of whether he carried matches, which were shown in an earlier segment. There can no longer be any real doubt that his decision to leave the road was irrational and related to his hypothermia and other stresses.

6. A minor point: Much was made of dehydration on the 20 20 report. They had fire and snow. They were starving, sleep deprived, frightened and hypothermic, but they should have had enough water.

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The James Kim story: turn-off sign obscured by tree

The James Kim family ended up on Bear Camp Road because they missed a turn off I-5 onto a much better road. Here’s a possible explanation of how they may have gone wrong.

as I drove South on I-5. The sign to OR 42 on I-5 is actually a fairly complicated sign. The reason is that it has TWO numbers of the routes you could seek, with Route 99 appearing on the left and Route 42 on the right. Sorry I can’t reproduce it here precisely, but it is something like this:

              99     Coos Bay

In other words, if the Kim family was looking for “42,” they could easily have missed the sign, because they might have just seen the “99.” Indeed, what I discovered was actually more scary than that. As I approached the sign announcing that the exit was one mile away, I shuddered because there was a growth of pine or fir branch covering the “42” on the right of the sign. Thus it would have been nearly impossible for them to have seen the “42” on the sign. I was looking for it, I knew where it was and I almost missed it. I had to crane my neck as I was passing the sign to see the “42.” No one has yet pointed this out. There was one more sign right at the exit, as usual, but if they hadn’t been prepared for it before that time, there was no reason to think they would have seen it.

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Oregon closes road where James Kim family stranded one year ago


Bear Camp Road, also known as Route 34-8-36, will remain closed throughout the winter, reopening in the spring pending favorable conditions, officials said.

Closure signs will be placed on the Galice Access Road as well as at all closed gates. The gates and signs will be checked regularly until the roads are reopened.

In addition, the gates on secondary roads in the area leading off the Galice Access Road, Peavine/Serpentine Springs Road and Forest Highway 23 will also be locked during the first week of November.

The Peavine/Serpentine Springs Road is not plowed and is often closed during the winter by heavy snowfall. Drivers are also advised to use caution because the road is currently being used by log truck traffic.

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Oregon State Police looking for scapegoat in death of two

This is over the line. The Oregon State Police are looking for the man who made a 911 call to report a car which went off the north side of Highway 26, 1/4 mile west of milepost 26, into brush.  In other words, he gave the exact location of the car and told the dispatcher that it could not be seen from the road. He had driven away from the scene to find a phone.

An OSP car responded immediately and the officer cruised slowly up and down the road for a couple of miles, stopped at one point (not at the described point), and did not get out of the car at the designated spot. He gave up the search after 30 minutes.

The car was spotted weeks later by an airplane, and proved to fit the description and location exactly, with two dead people inside. Exactly where the caller said. The brother in law of one of the victims:

Mulligan is angry the car was not found when that call came in on June 8.

“It had to be incompetence,” he said. “That’s the only way I can explain it. I’ve been searching here for two weeks. I’m not a policeman or anything else, but give me those directions and I’ll find that in a few minutes.”

Now the OSP want to pin the whole thing on the caller, for not returning to the scene. They say he may have falsified his name or number. I hope to hell they don’t find him. He did the right thing. They will try to crucify him. Meanwhile, the Oregon State Police, still smarting from the James Kim fiasco, will dance away.

Makes you not want to get involved, doesn’t it?

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James Kim: why did his cell phone fail?

I was thinking about the James Kim tragedy yesterday, and saw his CNET web page, which is still up. He was a senior editor of CNET. For those who don’t recall, he was driving in a snowstorm in Oregon last Thanksgiving, and got lost, and subsequently tried to walk for help. He died before rescuers could find him, though his family survived.

Username: jameskim
Real name: James Kim
Where I live: Noe Valley, a San Francisco cellular dead zone
What I do: Play around with tiny gadgets

[His comment about Noe Valley being a dead zone is ironic.]

Member since:
November 08, 2005

Last online:
Thursday, November 16, 2006 4:52PM PST

One of the interesting issues of the James Kim tragedy was his inability to use his cellphone. In part this was due to the remote “dead” location where he was stranded, and in part due to discharging of his cell batteries. Clearly he did not have a 12 volt charger to use in the vehicle, and I find that hard to understand. Furthermore, he seems not to have had an USB charger either, which would have allowed him to charge his cell from his laptop.  Or were both the cell and laptop batteries discharged? Furthermore, it is not clear that he had used the phone so extensively that day as to discharge the batteries. Is it possible he did not charge the phone the night before? Or was he using his phone to play movies or for other uses:

article by James Kim:

SlingPlayer Mobile allows users to stream video originating on their home television, including local broadcasts, cable and satellite content as well as video stored on a TiVo (or any other DVR), to their Windows Mobile-powered handheld or smartphone. Any higher end device running Windows Mobile 4 or 5 such as Palm’s Treo 700w, Samsung’s i730, Motorola’s Q, HP’s iPaq will work with the software utilizing either a WiFi or 3G network fo the video stream. The software, which includes a virtual remote control also allows you to pause “live” TV (there’s generally a 6-7 second delay) and program your DVR to record shows just as you would at home.

More from the website:

My system configuration:
1.25 GHz PowerPC G4, 1GB RAM, 15-inch PowerBook

My Windows PC just died.

I’m testing a Treo 700w and I love it.

I don’t know whether or not he had this Treo phone with him.

By PPC standards, the Treo 700w has great battery life. I used it as my main phone and email device while covering the CES trade show in Las Vegas for two days straight and the battery lasted. During that time I accessed the web for more than an hour each day using Verizon’s EVDO service, checked email for several accounts 20 times per day, watched two short videos, played a few games of solitaire and spoke on the phone for 30 minutes each day. Not bad….

Questioning friends and family, I was surprised to find that a lot of people don’t have cellphone chargers for use in their vehicles. I mean, that is where the phone gets the most use, am I wrong? But I bow to the majority….I couldn’t expect most people to have them, but a professional like James Kim, whose thing is computer gadgets?? And who won’t have access to an AC outlet during his vacation except when he’s in his motel room? And he knew his battery was low before he ever left Bear Camp Road.

There have always been many questions, many what ifs, couldas, shouldas about this sad story. The cell phone charger thing is certainly one lesson we might learn.

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Two ABC newsmen killed in Iraq

Among the hundreds killed in Iraq yesterday were two more brave reporters:

Cameraman Alaa Uldeen Aziz, 33, and soundman Saif Laith Yousuf, 26, were returning home from work at the ABC News Baghdad bureau yesterday afternoon when their car was reportedly ambushed and they were killed by unknown assailants.

On “Good Morning America” this morning, ABC’s Terry McCarthy said that Aziz and Yousuf were traveling home when they were stopped by two cars full of gunmen and forced to exit their car. The two were unaccounted for overnight and their deaths were confirmed this morning, McCarthy said.

“They are really our eyes and ears in Iraq,” McCarthy said of the contribution each made to ABC News. “Many places in Baghdad are just too dangerous for foreigners to go now, so we have Iraqi camera crews who very bravely go out & without them we are blind, we cannot see what’s going on.”

“Today we’ve lost two family members. It really hurts,” McCarthy said.

Aziz is survived by his wife, his two daughters and his mother. Yousuf leaves behind his fiancee, his mother and brothers and sisters.

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UPDATED:The US and Iran: Elliot Abrams’ sandbox; UN pooh-poohs Iran’s nuclear claims; John Pilger thinks war is coming

Elliot will be irritated by the truth:

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia: The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog said yesterday Iran was operating only several hundred centrifuges at its uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, despite its claims to have activated 3000.

And the State Department is trying  to smooth the waters:

Diplomacy must be given time to work in the West’s stand-off with Iran over its controversial nuclear programme, the US undersecretary of state for political affairs said on Thursday, adding that conflict with Iran was not “desirable” or “inevitable.”

Speaking to the BBC, Nicholas Burns said that the West had to have a “degree of patience” with diplomacy if it was to work, adding that there is still time for a diplomatic solution to the impasse.

“We’ve got some time to work here, and I think if diplomacy is to be pursued, and is to be successful, then we have to have a degree of patience about it,” Burns told the broadcaster.

“You can’t just react in an emotional way when you’re talking about very serious issues.”

He continued: “Our view is that a military conflict is not desirable, and it is certainly not inevitable, and if we can work skilfully together … then we may be successful. We ought to give that a try.”

But take heart, Mr. Abrams; some people think war is coming:
John Pilger

As hysteria is again fabricated, for Iraq, read Iran. According to the former US treasury secretary Paul O’Neill, the Bush cabal decided to attack Iraq on “day one” of Bush’s administration, long before 9/11 – and it beggars belief that Blair did not know that. The main reason was oil. O’Neill was shown a Pentagon document entitled Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts, which outlined the carve-up of Iraq’s oilfields among the major Anglo-American companies. Under a law written by American and British officials, the Iraqi puppet regime is about to hand over the extraction of the largest concentration of oil on earth to Anglo-American companies.

Nothing like this piracy has happened before in the modern Middle East. Across the Shatt al-Arab waterway the other prize: Iran’s vast oilfields. Just as non-existent weapons of mass destruction or facile concerns for democracy had nothing to do with the invasion of Iraq, so non-existent nuclear weapons have nothing to do with an American onslaught on Iran. Unlike Israel and the United States, Iran has abided by the rules of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has never cited Iran for diverting its civilian programme to military use. For the past three years IAEA inspectors have said that they have been allowed to “go anywhere”. The recent security council sanctions against Iran are the result of Washington’s bribery.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iran, Iraq, James Kim

Alaska’s Iditarod dogsled race: like the Birkebeiner, threatened by climate change

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image of statue of Balto in Central Park
Though I love the outdoors and stories of how to survive nature’s tricks, count me as not being an Iditarod fan. While I know those dogs love to run, it is unfair to run them into the ground, on purpose. The heroic trip commemorated by the race, however, is a truly incredible story, well worth a trip to Wikipedia and a few minutes of your time. Learn about the lead dogs Balto and Togo, the risky short cut across the water, the lifesaving serum and all the rest.

Of interest, as the Itarod begins this weekend, is that there is little snow; reminiscent of the recent Birkebeiner ski race in Wisconsin, much of the trail is bare, and some parts of the race preliminaries have already been truncated. .

Given the tough trail conditions this year — hard-packed snow and bare ground — King said he expects a bumpy ride. That’s not a problem, he said.
“The Iditarod trail will never be easy,” King said.

Too little fresh snow shortened the ceremonial start to an 11-mile run ending in Anchorage. The restart, where the mushers get serious about racing, begins Sunday in Willow, about 50 miles northwest of Anchorage.

This year’s race carries a $795,000 purse for the top 30 finishers. The winner will get approximately $69,000 and a brand new pickup truck worth about $41,000. The mushers who finish out of the money will receive about $1,000 each to help with the cost of flying their dogs home.

You can follow the progress of the race here.
Good luck, you huskies.


Filed under American Birkebeiner, dogs, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, global warming/environment, James Kim, Outdoors, Politics

You want clueless? How about this guy, who failed to find the James Kim family?

This guy doesn’t seem to get it. Of course the people made mistakes. What, does anyone in the world still think the Kims were smart?

Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel defended the training, experience and performance of his search and rescue team, adding that ultimate responsibility must fall on the Kims, who passed four signs warning snow could block the road ahead.
“My heart goes out to the Kim family and the families of the men up on Mount Hood,” Daniel said. “But the truth of the matter is in the past eight years I’ve been sheriff, we’ve done 34 search and rescue operations in wintertime up there on Bear Camp Road. In the majority of these cases, they are people that lack common sense. They are driving into snow in passenger vehicles on what is at best a two-lane road and sometimes a one-lane road.”

This is unbelievable. THIRTY-FOUR search and rescues in eight years and they haven’t yet figured out how to keep people from falling into this death trap, or get a better plan for extricating them? Look at the freakin signage on that road !! Is there a competence issue here on the part of this gentleman? Isn’t he over the line? Do we really need him to throw stones at the Kims? or do we need him to DO HIS FREAKIN JOB? As in, spend a few hundred bucks to improve the signage/gates, to save thousands in search expenditures. And a few lives.


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The James Kim tragedy: updated

Several new aspects of this story have surfaced over the past week; I have been updating this story virtually every day.

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