Central Cariboo Search and Rescue (CCSAR) is grieving the loss of one of its members, killed in an avalanche while backcountry skiing in the Chilcotin Saturday, Feb. 11.
“This member tragically passed in a recent avalanche event on Potato Peak, [40 km south of Tatla Lake] along side one other person who was a dear friend,” said CCSAR president Rick White in a statement issued Thursday, not identifying the person.
Avalanche Canada said the pair had snowmobiled into the Potato Mountain Range, about 40 kilometres south of Tatla Lake before putting on their skis. They were on the mountain’s east-facing slope when a slab of snow broke off and buried them.
“This member was a treasured part of our team. They were dedicated, passionate and full of joy. Always spending their free time in nature; whether that be rock climbing, hiking, skiing or capturing its magic through photography.”
The man and woman were reported missing to RCMP on Monday after they didn’t return from their trip on Sunday as planned. RCMP, CCSAR and an avalanche safety officer searched the area and found the pair’s bodies.
White confirmed the CCSAR avalanche team, with mutual aid from Prince George Search and Rescue, were the ones to respond to the incident.
“The loss of this member is being felt with enormous grief amongst all of our membership,” White said. “This member’s kind soul, and bright light, will be significantly missed.”
Critical incident stress management is being utilized for those who responded on the call, and for the entire team, he noted.
Avalanche conditions this season are unprecedented, White said.
“No matter the skill or comfortability level, the risk has been horrifically unforgiving. We are urging everyone across the province to not take that risk. Please adventure only within highly safe parameters, be prepared, and always leave a trip plan.”