Alexis Creek RCMP suspend search for fallen climber in Waddington mountain range

A lengthy high altitude emergency rescue attempt has been suspended, after searchers were unable to locate a 33-year-old Seattle woman.

  • Jul. 29, 2016 9:00 a.m.

A lengthy high altitude emergency rescue attempt has been suspended, after searchers were unable to locate a 33-year-old Seattle, Washington woman, who had fallen while climbing in the Waddington Mountain range this past Sunday.

On Monday July 25 at 8:50 a.m. the Alexis Creek RCMP was notified of a climber who had fallen during a climb in the Waddington Mountain Range, West of Alexis Creek.

It was learned that 33-year-old Laurel Fan, of Seattle, Wash. fell during an ascent of a peak known as Serra Two in the Waddington Range near the Stiletto Glacier at an altitude of approximately 11,000 feet.

The fall occurred on Sunday afternoon, July 24, at approximately 3 p.m.

The woman had been amongst a group of three climbers who had commenced their climbing in the area on July 22 after being flown in.

Following the witnessed fall, and unable to visually locate Fan, the remaining two climbers descended from the area to summon help. The pair made it to a base camp with communications services early Monday morning. Upon receiving the information the Alexis Creek RCMP initiated and co-ordinated an effort to attend the area with the properly trained and qualified rescue technicians.

Although the search was outside of a Canada National Parks area, specific qualified technicians were identified among Parks Canada resources following the initial canvas of BCSAR technicians available.

On Tuesday, July 26, a Parks Canada Mountaineer team flew into the area and surveyed the site.

Following further canvassing of available resources in B.C. and Alberta, a search team of three Parks Canada professional climbers, an Alberta Provincial Parks technician and a BCSAR technician from Whistler SAR conducted a search on the mountain on Wednesda,y July 27, followed by another search Thursday.

On July 27, the group selected two crevasses to search which had the highest probability of locating the victim. Avalanche probe sticks were used. Avalanche activity prior to the July 27 morning search had spread snow over the search area over a metre deep.

On July 28 the climbers returned to the area with a Parks Canada search dog and handler from Banff and a search of the area which had been previously probed was searched with the dog.

An upper site at the 9,400 foot level and a lower site at the 9,000 foot level were searched without success. The area had multiple deep crevasses, some of which were of unknown total depths. Snow conditions observed also indicated that continuous natural avalanches had occurred in the area searched since the fall on Sunday.

“The extreme and dangerous conditions present, only permitted the searchers to be on the mountain face for three hrs per day, early in the morning from 5 until 8 a.m., given that daylight temperature changes caused worsening snow conditions. Given that the fall distance exceeded several hundred feet, searchers have made the determination that there was an extreme unlikelihood of her surviving the fall. The search was suspended following the possible efforts being completed today [Thursday]. The Alexis Creek RCMP has been in contact with Fan’s family throughout the week and is continuing to provide support to them,” said RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk.

The Alexis Creek RCMP would like to express their gratitude to all the partner agencies who assisted in the rescue response this week, including White Saddle Helicopters Ltd.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

The first Chimney Creek Roadhouse, constructed in 1864. (Photo courtesy of the B.C. Provincial Archives)
HAPHAZARD HISTORY: The Isnardy family of Williams Lake

Amadee Isnardy was born in 1840 near Nice, France

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.
FOREST INK: Ecological economics not a popular topic for most people

The following is a review of the no (or slow) growth concept

Do you have a letter? Email us at
LETTER: BC Liberals left ICBC a mess: Farnworth

Our BC NDP government has worked tirelessly to fix the mess that was left behind

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read