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Snowshoer missing overnight on Howe Sound Crest Trail has been found dead

Snowshoer found dead

UPDATE 5:30 p.m.

A search for a missing 21-year-old snowshoer who was lost overnight in the North Shore backcountry has ended tragically.

Search crews spotted the woman from a helicopter Friday morning, in a steep gully in the Lembke Creek drainage area and long-lined rescuers, including medical personnel, in to the scene.

Squamish RCMP confirmed in a statement late Friday that the woman had been pronounced dead by medical teams.

"First our thoughts are with the woman's family and friends, as well with all the responders and search teams to the St Mark’s area last night and today," said Sgt. Sascha Banks of the Squamish RCMP in a press statement late Friday afternoon.

The Squamish RCMP will work with the BC Coroners Service to determine all the facts surrounding the woman’s death, said Banks.

North Shore Rescue crews had been out since late Thursday afternoon searching for the snowshoer, who was missing in the backcountry near Cypress Mountain after becoming lost on the Howe Sound Crest Trail.

Ground crews and helicopter search teams had been combing Lembke Creek on the east side of St. Mark’s Peak.


ORIGINAL 1:15 p.m.

A 21-year-old Instagram Influencer from Toronto, missing overnight in the North Shore backcountry has been found.

North Shore Rescue said the snowshoer was located by helicopter search crews around 10:45 a.m. Friday morning. Rescue teams were being sent into the area where the woman was spotted. It was unclear immediately what the woman's condition was.

North Shore Rescue crews had spent the morning and hours Thursday night searching for the snowshoer, who was missing overnight in the backcountry near Cypress Mountain after becoming lost on the Howe Sound Crest Trail.

Ground crews and helicopter search teams had been combing an area near Lembke Creek on the east side of St. Mark’s Peak.

The woman – a tourist from Toronto – was snowshoeing alone and had been missing since about 3 p.m. Thursday.

Search manager Doug Pope with North Shore Rescue said Friday they knew the woman reached St. Mark’s Peak just before 3 p.m. Thursday because she phoned her boyfriend in Toronto and posted photos on Instagram.

After that, the woman began descending back down the trail and became lost, said Pope. She called her boyfriend again “to say that she was lost in very deep terrain. And she sounded quite distressed and then the phone connection dropped,” he said.

The boyfriend then called police and a search was immediately started.

Pope said searchers were able to get information from police that the woman’s last phone call pinged off a cell tower in Surrey, indicating she was probably on the east side of the ridge, an area of steep terrain that descends down into the Capilano watershed.

Ground search crews and a helicopter crew using night vision goggles searched last night for several hours, said Pope. Searchers also landed in the watershed and attempted to make voice contact with loudspeakers, but did not hear anything back.

Weather conditions in the area were good earlier Thursday afternoon but deteriorated through the evening, said Pope, including gusting wind and blowing hail during the night.

The Lembke Creek drainage – where a number of creeks end in waterfalls and cliffs - has been the site of multiple searches over the years, said Pope.

The snowshoer had some decent gear with her, he said. “She had snowshoes, microspikes, poles, a water filter.”

But searchers didn’t know if the woman was carrying a headlamp or warm clothing layers.

And “travelling alone in avalanche terrain like that is a worry,” he added.

Pope added when someone is lost, it’s always the best idea to call police first. “Calling 911 often allows us to get your actual location,” he said.

When lost in the North Shore Mountains, it’s always a better idea to ascend to a ridge, he added, rather than descending – both because terrain usually gets more treacherous further down and because there’s a better chance of getting a cellphone call out and being found by searchers.



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