NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — North Shore Rescue crews rescued two men on Cypress Mountain who’ve been missing since Saturday night.
Search Manager Peter Haigh says around 11:30 p.m. the rescue team was contacted by the girlfriend of one of the men. She told crews the 38-year-old and 42-year-old did not return home.
.@NSRescue out at Cypress Mountain this morning looking for a skier + snowboarder missing since yesterday. Search crews say the pair tried to make a call at 7 this morning, which is helping in efforts to locate them but whiteout conditions are a challenge. More on @NEWS1130.
— Monika Gul (@MonikaGul) March 21, 2021
Haigh says the search has been “frustrating,” but thankful crews had a breakthrough when the pair used their phones Sunday.
According to Haigh, both of the men’s phones were off since one 1:00 p.m. Saturday but at 7:00 a.m. Sunday they both attempted to make a call.
“They didn’t talk to anybody because they couldn’t get out. But we do know the towers that those two phones hit … that they’re on the east side on the side of Mount Strachan or Hollyburn … in the watershed area.”
While it’s a good sign the pair used their phones Sunday morning, Haigh says they are not prepared for staying on the mountain overnight.
“They were just sort of inbound skiing is what they came up for. So, no they don’t have any suppliers with them at all.”
Search crews have deployed a helicopter, “but we’re stuck with whiteout conditions and cloud, so we can’t get above about 500 meters.”
“We’ve had Metro drive up the watershed area, no indication that anybody’s come out on the road. And the helicopter in fact, has clarified that nobody out down low yet,” Haigh adds.
Around 4:30 p.m., Haigh told NEWS 1130 the men had been spotted in the area of Tony Baker gully.
“We saw them from the air, about 750 metres, walking around so they looked like they were in good shape.”
The pair were found huddled under a tree in Tony Baker Gully around 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
Haigh says crews planned to use a longline to reduce the risk of avalanche during the rescue but since that method requires more elevation above the rescue site than they could manage, crews changed strategy.
Instead they came in under the cloud line with a different helicopter and used a winch to secure the pair and pull them out.
Haigh says both men were cold and hungry but were otherwise fine.
-with files from Jonathan Szekeres