The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo

Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

A 62-year-old Hope man, who spent two frigid nights on a mountain in Manning Park last weekend, did almost everything right to survive, according to Princeton Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) chief Paul Fyfe.

The experienced winter camper found shelter at the bottom of a tree – a tree well – on Manning’s Blackwall Peak. He’d left a trip plan, and was equipped with food, extra clothing and a cook stove. He also carried a single person shelter called a bivy bag.

However he was surrounded by five feet of fresh powder snow and could only wait to be found.

“The only thing he didn’t have with him was a communication device,” said Fyfe. “Some kind of communication device is a must if you are going into the backcountry.”

While GSAR recommends backcounty users carry a satellite device enabling them to send messages where there is no cell service, in this instance even a phone would have been useful, as the man was holed down near a tower.

RELATED: Two months later, family, friends of missing Manning Park hiker continue to search

The camper also had touring skis, but was overcome by conditions, according to Fyfe.

“He just underestimated the amount of snow that was out there. He was basically having to walk on his skis instead of ski on his skis. His whole body was having to fight against the snow.”

Princeton GSAR was activated at 10 p.m. Sunday Feb. 21, after the man’s anxious wife reported he did not show up at their rendezvous point.

Waiting for word, she slept that night on a couch in the reception area of Manning Park’s lodge. There was – quite literally – no room at the inn.

Fyfe spent the next few hours preparing a search plan and coordinating with a Ministry of Transportation avalanche technician. A search area needs to be cleared for safety before volunteers can put boots on the ground.

GSAR members from Fraser Valley, Mission, Chilliwack, Nicola Valley and Hope were on their way to Manning Park to assist with the search when the missing man was spotted from a helicopter.

“When he heard the helicopter he came out of the tree well and started waving his arms. If he hadn’t come out of the tree well we wouldn’t have seen him.”

When a GSAR member exited the helicopter to meet the camper “he sunk into the snow up to his armpits. That’s how deep the powder was out there,” said Fyfe.

The camper was relieved to see his rescuers, but in good health and spirits.

It was the best of outcomes for GSAR.

“It was less than an hour after we went up. That’s how quick something can happen, that we can have a positive resolution.”

RELATED: Families panic before skiers on Frosty Mountain found safe

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:mailto:andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com


 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Alisa Gusakova was one of two Grade 12 Chilliwack students who received a $5,000 Horatio Alger Canadian Scholarship earlier this year. Now, a fundraiser has been created for the teen after her mother was killed. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Fundraiser launched for daughter of Chilliwack woman killed

Money raised will help Chilliwack teen attend UFV to earn business degree

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

Agassiz Fire Department has been called to an ATV rollover on Harrison East Forest Service Road on Sunday, April 18, 2021. (Google Maps)
Agassiz Fire called out to ATV rollover incident on Harrison FSR

Morning call follows exceptionally busy Saturday as temperatures soar in Fraser Valley

A Chilliwack Search and Rescue truck heads down Vedder Road towards Cultus Lake to assist a dirtbiker with a broken leg. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Emergency crews, SAR busy with three separate outdoor recreation incidents in Chilliwack area

Calls in 1 afternoon include ATV collision, parachuter who fell from tree, dirtbiker with broken leg

Chilliwack’s historic Royal Hotel is offering COVID-style wedding packages for two weeks in June. (Facebook/ Royal Hotel Chilliwack)
Chilliwack hotel offers pop-up, COVID-style weddings for 2 weeks this June

‘Weddings can still happen, albeit in a different fashion,’ says Laura Reid of Royal Hotel

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
One man dead after shooting in Downtown Vancouver

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of April 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read