#LionsBay, #B.C., #Canada, #LowerMainland, #cornice, #AlastairFerries, #MartinColwell, #AvalancheCanada, #KarlKlassenMay
The bodies of five hikers, believed to have fallen hundreds of metres to their deaths near Lions Bay, B.C., north of Vancouver, have been recovered by search and rescue crews, media reports said.
'They fell down the north face of Mount Harvey,' said rescuer, CBCNews reports said.
Mount Harvey in B.C.: Wikipedia
Dozens of search and rescue workers from organizations across the Lower Mainland spent Sunday morning scouring the mountain, including avalanche dogs and helicopter crews.
"They were kind of going parallel to the ridge. They were back but I could see where their tracks where the snow had caved away… On Mount Harvey, I think a really large cornice can develop sticking out quite far, so you have to stay quite far back away from the edge and that's not obvious," said Hiker Alastair Ferries who was on the trail Saturday, CBCNews reports said.
Ferries said on Saturday visibility was limited and varied, and there was intermittent snow.
A post on he facebook account of Ferries by Grejeen News Canada read,
“Solo hiker Alastair Ferries knew the situation was grim when he reached the summit of Mount Harvey, north of Vancouver, Saturday afternoon. The tracks belonging to a group of snowshoers he’d been following had simply vanished “over the side.” “There was nobody there,” he told the National Post. Sunday afternoon, search and rescue personnel confirmed everyone’s worst fears.”
Karl Klassen, the warning service manager with Avalanche Canada said cornices are common at this time of year when there is high wind, warm temperatures and sticky snow.
A post on a popular hiking website, a week before, had warned people of the imminent danger of breaking of the cornice at the top of the mountain.
But Lions Bay Search and Rescue manager Martin Colwell said cornices were not easy to see when hikers are on top of one.
Colwell said the five victims were from B.C.'s Lower Mainland and were part of a regular hiking group.
Police or the BC Coroners Service have not yet identified the victims.
Avalanche Canada recommended people wanting to explore the backcountry take avalanche training, which provides instruction on recognizing dangers posed by cornices.
Avalanche Canada: Facebook page
Klassen said, "You know just because it's warm and green in the valley bottom doesn't mean it's over in the mountains," he said. "We still have a pretty wintry snowpack up ... in the mountains," CBCNews reports said.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)