Kims and The Doomed Trip
and Official Reports Archive
17 (Friday): James and Kati Kim and their two daughters
left San Francisco in their family car for Seattle to spend
the Thanksgiving holiday with relatives.
24 (Friday): The Kims left Seattle for Portland, and
stayed overnight there.
Kims spent the morning in Portland with a friend and left
shortly after noon. They stopped at a tourist information
center just south of Portland for a map and route information.
Five or six hours later, they refueled the car near the town
of Halsey, about an hour south of the tourist information
center and 230 miles from their destination. At 5:45 p.m. they
called the resort from Halsey to say that they would be late
and to ask that a key be left for them.
Kati Kim claims that the family spent the day in Portland;
never stopped for map and route information; and left the city
at about 5 p.m.
Kims drove to Roseburg, a Southern Oregon town, where they
stopped for dinner. They left for Gold Beach at about 9:30
p.m., with a three-hour drive ahead of them via I-5, Oregon
Hwy. 42 and U.S. Hwy. 101. Authorities say Mrs. Kim told them
they missed the Hwy. 42 turnoff, consulted an official Oregon
highway map and decided to use a route that took them along
Bear Camp Road, a narrow, steep Forest Service road considered
hazardous by local travelers and labeled “closed in
winter” on their map.
the Kims proceeded up the rapidly climbing trail, they passed
four signs warning that their route “may be blocked by
snowdrifts” ahead. About 14 miles up Bear Camp Road and
27 miles from I-5, the Kims reached an intersection with a
logging road. They stayed on the main route, going past the
fourth warning sign of the night. It cautioned that the route
may be blocked by snowdrifts six miles ahead. Shortly
thereafter, as heavy snow fell, Mr. Kim decided to back his
car down the narrow road until they returned to the logging
than turn around and head back to I-5, the Kims decided to
take the logging road, which appeared to lead to a lower
elevation. They traveled along the unpaved logging road for 21
miles, stopping occasionally to remove rocks from their path.
By 2 a.m., the Kims realized they were disoriented and stopped
for the night.
26 (Sunday): Rain was falling when the Kims awoke. Rather
than drive back toward I-5, they decided to stay where they
were. Mrs. Kim told authorities they feared becoming stuck in
snow, and believed they would soon be discovered by rangers.
They periodically ran their car’s engine to generate
27 (Monday): They awoke to heavy snow. The Kims melted
snow for drinking water, and periodically ran the engine to
28 (Tuesday): The Kims remained in their car and
periodically ran the engine to generate heat. It snowed and
rained all day.
29 (Wednesday): Weather started to clear. The Kims started
fires with magazines and wet driftwood to stay warm. In San
Francisco, the Kims’ housesitter filed a missing-persons
report with the local police.
30 (Thursday): Their car ran out of gas. The Kims used a
spare tire to start a fire in the afternoon. Portland, Oregon
police began investigating the missing person report. That
night, the first reports about the Kims appeared in the news
1 (Friday): They burned all four remaining tires to signal
for help and for heat. The fire burned out in the afternoon.
They heard a helicopter, but couldn’t locate it.
2 (Saturday): About 7:45 a.m. James left the car in search
of help. He built a fire for Kati and the children, and said
he would return by 1 p.m. The Kims thought the town of Galice
was 4 miles away, but it was actually 15 miles away. James set
out for Galice, walking on a road for about 10 miles before
turning off into the Big Windy Creek ravine. Kati Kim saw and
heard a helicopter but failed to get its attention. James Kim
didn't return in the afternoon.
3 (Sunday): After walking about 16 miles and spending a
night outdoors, James Kim died of hypothermia. Note: The exact
time of death cannot be known, but the condition of the body
and the route walked by Mr. Kim makes it likely he died
Saturday or Sunday.
4 (Monday): A helicopter searcher spotted Kati Kim and her
children at their family car. They were taken to a hospital,
interviewed by authorities and released in good health.
5 (Tuesday): Search and rescue personnel found clothes and
other items identified as belonging to James Kim, arranged in
a pattern intended to give searchers clues to his whereabouts.
6 (Wednesday): A helicopter pilot hired by Spencer Kim
found James Kim’s body lying in a shallow section of Big
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