A father and daughter killed by a falling boulder while camping on Blackcomb Mountain were victims of a freak accident, according to Whistler RCMP.
Trevor Norman, 49, and his 10-year-old daughter Zara had ski toured to the Blackcomb Glacier area on May 11. With wind and rain picking up they made the decision to set up their tent in the least exposed spot they could find, at the base of a rock wall above the natural wind lip that runs across the top of the traverse.
During the night a large rock dislodged from the wall and fell onto the two.
They were reported missing the next day when they did not check in as planned, and a search got underway that evening at around 7 p.m. with Whistler Search and Rescue, a ski patrol dog team, a helicopter and other resources. Although the helicopter was grounded at nightfall, the search continued until 11 p.m., then resumed at 6:30 a.m. the next morning with additional resources from Search and Rescue teams from Lions Bay to Pemberton.
The Normans' remains were discovered the next morning beneath the rock, which measured approximately six feet long, three-and-a-half feet wide and three feet deep.
According to Sergeant Rob Knapton of the Whistler RCMP, Trevor was an experienced backcountry skier and camper, and they went into the alpine well prepared and with a detailed plan. They did everything right, in other words.
"They had a safety plan, people knew where they were... they camped under the wall to protect themselves from the weather, which was an appropriate place to be (for the conditions). It was just a freak accident," said Knapton.
It's unknown why the boulder fell, but it's been suggested that ice jacking may have played a role. When water gets into a confined space and then freezes it expands, exerting enough pressure to snap metal and break rock. Temperatures in the alpine continue to drop below zero at night, and snow has been falling this week.
Police prepared for Victoria Day in Whistler
While the May long weekend is typically a busy one for police, the number of incidents has been declining in recent years. Hotels are more particular about who they will rent hotel rooms to, and the RCMP has worked with hotels and the bar industry to put an operational plan in place.
Most importantly, the RCMP has bolstered its numbers over the years with additional members from Squamish and the Lower Mainland, while making use of integrated teams from Vancouver. This year there will be roughly 40 officers working through the weekend, boosting the police presence in the village, at local parks, on the highway and elsewhere.
The police will have a zero tolerance policy in effect, which means anyone caught drinking in public or engaged in other offences will be ticketed immediately and potentially arrested.
RCMP seeking information on fight
On the morning of May 13, the Whistler RCMP received a call from a man who was injured the previous evening, in the early morning hours of May 12. He believed he had been assaulted. His jaw was broken, but he has no memory of what had happened.
The RCMP informed the male that he had been involved in consensual fight that occurred at roughly 2 a.m. on the Village Stroll near Mountain Square. Two men got into a fight with another man, and the caller — one of the two men involved on one side — was the only injured party.
The RCMP attended, but the fight had been broken up before the arrived and the people involved had left the scene.
Anyone with information can contact the Whistler RCMP at 604-932-3044 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Male arrested for allegedly trying to steal backpack
The RCMP attended a fight on the Village Stroll near the Marketplace on May 11 at 4:30 p.m., and discovered that the fight had started after a 52-year-old North Vancouver male allegedly tried to take a backpack. The police arrested the male, and are considering charges.
School bus drivers concerned by passing vehicles
Despite warnings and school bus drivers calling in plate numbers, people are continuing to pass pulled-over school buses that have their blinkers on and stop signs extended, according to the Whistler RCMP. The latest incident was reported at Alta Lake Road and Old Mill Road this week.
Passing a school bus while it is dropping off or picking up students carries a fine of $145.
RCMP responding to noisy party calls
The Whistler RCMP responded to at least six noisy-party calls over the weekend, something that Sergeant Knapton said is often the case when spring rolls around, people open windows and move their parties to the balcony. The RCMP is asking people to be conscientious of their neighbours as the weather improves.