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.

Just Posted

An RCMP cruiser. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Police kept busy following overnight vehicle thefts, B&Es near 100 Mile House

One man is facing charges and three others suspects in relation to the thefts

A new banner was unveiled Monday, June 21, in Williams Lake that will hang across Oliver Street. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Orange Shirt Banner Project unveiled in Williams Lake

The Every Child Matters - 215 banner will hang across the city’s main street

(File Photo)
Police watchdog clears 100 Mile RCMP of wrongdoing after man dies in Williams Lake shelter

The man had been in custody at 100 Mile RCMP detachment prior to being taken to Williams Lake

The future of the Quesnel Rec Centre pool is unknown after residents shot down potential renovations in a referendum. (Melanie Law photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Cariboo Regional District, Quesnel residents shoot down pool renovations in referendum

The $20 million project needed approval from people living in the North Cariboo Recreation area

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

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

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read