Aerial search resumes for climbers missing near Squamish but weather still challenging

Click to play video: 'Search for 3 missing mountain climbers near Squamish continues'
Search for 3 missing mountain climbers near Squamish continues
Alissa Thibault has the latest on the intensive search for three people who went missing while mountaineering in Garibaldi Provincial Park near Squamish – Jun 5, 2024

Improved weather conditions allowed search-and-rescue crews to get airborne in the search for three climbers missing near Squamish on Wednesday.

But the weather didn’t cooperate enough to allow helicopters to get near the higher elevations of Atwell Peak where the mountaineers are believed to be, Squamish Search and Rescue said.

The trio, who are experienced and well respected in the mountaineering community, set out on Friday morning, and one of them posted a social media post from Atwell Peak that day.

None of them have been heard from since, and harsh weather conditions over the weekend prevented search crews from ascending to key areas on the mountain.

“This is not a casual day hike by any stretch this is an extremely technical mountaineering adventure that these people set out on, it’s a highly technical climb that’s going to require ropes, crampons, harnesses, extreme experience and extreme training to get into this area,” Squamish SAR manager BJ Chute said.

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“This by no means a walk in the park or a simple hike by any means.”

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Avalanche conditions were too dangerous for ground crews to mount a search effort Wednesday.

Click to play video: 'Weather hampers search for missing Squamish climbers'
Weather hampers search for missing Squamish climbers

Helicopter teams have been using scanning devices capable of picking up signals from mobile phones, avalanche beacons and “deflector” devices that can be sewn into high-tech outdoor clothing.

Chute said longer daylight hours meant helicopter crews could work until about 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Crews aim to start back up at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday.

“The search will continue until we have a reason to stand it down,” Chute said.

The RCMP is working with Squamish Search and Rescue, police dog services and the Mounties air service in the search.

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The RCMP has asked members of the public to stay away from the search area while operations are underway.

Police have not named the missing climbers out of respect for their families.

— With files from Canadian Press

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