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Passion into a nightmare: Snowmobiler lost for 17 hours on Mount Garibaldi

Last Updated Dec 21, 2019 at 1:52 pm PDT

FILE PHOTO (Courtesy Natural Resources Canada)

It was 17 hours of fear and despair for one man ventured a bit too far into the wilderness on Mount Garibaldi

After being unable to call for help, the experienced snowmobiler was left to fend for himself

SQUAMISH (NEWS 1130) – It was a close call for an experienced snowmobiler, who got lost during a snowstorm on Mount Garibaldi, spending 17 hours stranded before he was rescued Thursday.

Daniel Wiesz has never hesitated when it comes to going for a ride in the snow, with 15 years of experience under his belt and hundreds of trips to Brohm Ridge.

Except for this time, he went too far and found himself lost.

“I know the area perfectly. But I went a little bit too far on the tree line. It was really stormy so I just did a U-turn to come back on my way and just lost my tracks,” he says. “I got confused and lost. So after hours, I tried to escape but by 3 p.m. I realized that I was going to spend the night.”

While he was able to build himself a shelter, Weisz says the freezing temperatures and his wet clothing were a huge concern.

“I was looking for a good shelter I was thinking about doing a fire but I know what the wood is wet, so I was a bit limited with survival,” Weisz says. “So I dug in the snow. And my clothes, my boots, my gloves, everything I had was wet, soaked as if I took a shower. And it was minus 4 degrees.”

Given all his years of experience, Weisz says he understood he needed to keep dry and warm, and spent most of the time alternating between some kind of physical activity.

“I have to keep moving. I have a little bit of food. I didn’t have much water. The snow kept falling on me so I was just getting wet, even more wet,” he says. “So I did a bunch of jumping jacks and just kept on moving all night.”

During the hours he was stranded, each call to 9-1-1 failed to connect, and calls to his family would not go through.

“I was trying to phone 911, my wife and my friends but there was no reception. I was thinking it is going to snow for another four days. So if I’m not coming out the next morning search and rescue will not fly during a snowstorm. So I know I was kind of on my own.”

In a desperate attempt to get warm and to dry his wet clothing, Weisz was able to take some of his personal belongings and starts a small fire.

“I took my ski helmet and a spare belt from my Snowbelt, put gas on it and burned it, and was kind of spreading my legs over it so my pant could dry. And I had no glove, my gloves were soaking wet.”

After spending the night on the mountain, Weisz was rescued when another snowboarder happened to cross paths.

“When I saw him in the morning, I was like that said I’d saved so I started my snowmobile for the lights to turn on. And as he stopped, he heard my whistle. And then I knew I was safe.”

While he did not require any medical treatment, he says it was an excellent reminder, always to be prepared when it comes to Mother Nature.

“I made it. I’m kind of glad it was a good and a bad experience. You know, stuff you think like, when you’re young, like one day I’ll be put to the test. It will be great. I will survive. It wasn’t that great. Believe me. The feeling was not great.”