David Leggett of West Vancouver has been missing since at least Dec. 9 and with each passing day the chances of finding him alive are diminishing.
Squamish Search and Rescue manager Murray Watt said he believes Leggett is most likely on top of the Stawamus Chief, a place that has been covered in snow and ice for the last few weeks. The dangerous conditions at the top of the popular hiking destination, said Watt, have made it too risky for searchers to access the summit area on foot.
Leggett's family from back east was in Squamish on Monday, Dec. 17 to be briefed on the search efforts and to tour the area, said Watt.
Because the summit of the Stawamus Chief with its steep rock faces is inaccessible to searchers, Watt said a rare helicopter search was conducted soon after Leggett's car was found at Shannon Falls Provincial Park. He noted that Squamish Search and Rescue rarely does helicopter searches because they don't usually produce results. Three searchers were sent up in a helicopter but they weren't able to find any signs of the 35-year-old man.
In addition to the helicopter search Watt said a shoreline search was conducted Dec. 11 and ground searches between Shannon Falls and the Stawamus Chief have turned up no evidence of Leggett. The search team that day included Coast Guard volunteers and a military team with a helicopter from the air force base in Comox.
"Another shoreline search was done Sunday from Nexen Beach to Watts Point," the search manager said.
Search dogs were brought in to assist in a grid search of lower elevation trails in the area of the Shannon Falls parking lot.
According to Watt, the search team is waiting for a turn in the weather so a crew can be sent up to the summit of the Chief. He noted it might be March before that happens.
While the weather is preventing a search of the area identified as the most likely place Leggett will be found, Watt said notices have been posted in Stawamus Chief Provincial Park informing park users that the search for Leggett is ongoing.
Watt said that despite the dangers in the park he knows there are people who use the hiking trail up the back of the popular climbing area in the winter.
"If people are on the Chief and they do find anything, we want to know right away," Watt said.
Leggett is described as Caucasian, 5'8, 150 lbs, with blond hair and balding. He wears glasses and reportedly knows the trails around Squamish well.
Anyone with information on Leggett is encouraged to call the Squamish RCMP at 604-892-6100.