North Shore Rescue (NSR) crews spent Friday searching the area around Mt. Strachan near Cypress Mountain for two missing hikers who departed Christmas Day and have not been heard from since.
But crews arrived back at base in a somber mood Friday evening after making the tough decision to call off the search after five days.
Inclement weather held back rescuers earlier in the week and the search was temporarily called off on Thursday. Clear skies on Friday gave NSR hope the two men, 43-year-old Roy Lee and 64-year-old Chun Lam, would be found.
Despite using the FLIR infrared camera, having two helicopters and 20 volunteer rescuers, no trace of the men was found.
“It’s really frustrating because so much effort was put in, and I feel a lot of this could have been prevented if a trip plan was in place,” said NSR team leader Mike Danks. “It doesn’t help to reflect on that, it’s just hopefully in the future people will see that you absolutely have to be prepared and you need to let someone know where you’re going.”
While the search has been called off, West Vancouver Police will keep a missing persons file open and will follow up on any tips they receive.
This is the second time in three months that crews have not been able to find a missing hiker up Cypress. At the end of September, 65-year-old Debbie Blair became separated from her hiking group near Donut Rock trail junction and was never found.
NSR crews urge skiers, boarders and hikers to not venture into out of bounds areas.