Weather hampers search for missing mountaineers near Squamish

Three men have been missing since Friday. As Angela Bower reports, the search efforts have been hampered by inclement weather.

By The Canadian Press and Charles Brockman

Spokespersons for the Squamish Search and Rescue (SSAR) say the area where three climbers have been missing since Friday is “socked in” with clouds and moisture, hampering efforts to find them.

Christy Allan says rescue crews were on standby in the community about 65 kilometres north of Vancouver, hoping the weather clears enough to allow them to try to reach the area where the mountaineers were last seen.

She says the effort would involve helicopter and groundcrews, though the avalanche risk is also high.

Allan says the trio was last seen Friday morning on Atwell Peak on the southern edge of Mount Garibaldi.

She described the terrain as “really complex and remote.”

B.J. Chute, a manager with SSAR told CityNews Monday afternoon that it’s too early to speculate on the condition of the climbers.

“I think it’d be premature to even have a conversation other than to say that it’s an active search and rescue operation,” said Chute.

“I would hate to speculate on anything that has happened or potentially happened because it could be, really at this point, anything.”

Chute says weather plays a key factor in any search operation. He added that even operations that could seem simple, on local trails in Squamish or Grouse Mountain, for example, are affected.

“Not having the ability to fly, simply, will slow down a search and rescue operation, but also having to move crews through long distances on the ground through inclement weather obviously is going to slow down that response,” said Chute.

Chute advised even the most experienced climbers and hikers to come prepared.

“So, this is why we are advocating so strongly that people who do go out and recreate have a rescue plan, and that their rescue plan is more detailed than simply calling 911. Taking along a few essentials, such as a jacket, a toque, and a headlamp can make a miserable night more bearable for people — should something happen.”

As for SSAR’s progress in looking for the three climbers, Chute echoed Allan, saying SSAR is still waiting and ready to act.

“We simply cannot travel to the area. It’s not accessible. In order to perform a rescue would not be accessible by ground at this point, due to the weather and the avalanche concerns. Our hope is that the weather does break and allows us to get a helicopter into the area.”

The missing climbers have not yet been publicly identified.

With files from Catherine Garrett

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today