A two-day hiking trip into Garibaldi Park ended in tragedy on Monday, when the body of a hiker, who became separated from his group the previous afternoon, was found by searchers in Rubble Creek, about 20 km south of Whistler.
According to the RCMP, the 30-year-old male was a resident of the Lower Mainland but not a Canadian citizen. More details will be released when the victim’s next of kin are notified.
The individual was part of a group of six hikers that headed up the Rubble Creek trail on snowshoes to spend a night in the backcountry. On the way down on Sunday, the group became separated. The last time the victim was seen was at 4 p.m. hiking down the opposite side of Rubble Creek from the trail.
When the group reached the bottom of the trail they waited for him for almost two hours before contacting the Whistler RCMP. Squamish Search and Rescue started the search that evening and at about 1 a.m. on Monday morning found the victim’s backpack. The search continued until 3:30 a.m., when the search effort was postponed until daylight arrived.
Monday morning, assisted by a helicopter, ground crews went back to the site where the pack was found and at 10:20 a.m. they discovered the victim’s body and brought it back down the mountain. The cause of death is unknown and the RCMP are still investigating.
According to Constable Afzeel Yakub of the Whistler RCMP, groups should always use extreme caution when venturing into the backcountry.
“From what I understand, this was a group that does like to go out and do this sort of thing,” he said. “They do have experience, but as for their level of expertise we’re not sure at this point.”
Squamish and Whistler Search and Rescue teams usually collaborate on searches in that area, but Yakub believes that the Whistler team — also with the assistance of volunteers from Squamish Search and Rescue — were occupied with the search for a Japanese snowboarder who has been missing since Thursday, March 20.
The hiker is the first fatality for Search and Rescue crews this year.