Search Resumes for Missing Hikers

Hi everybody!

Those of you who visit my site know that I very rarely post anything unrelated to photography. In fact, it’s been quite a while since I last posted anything at all on the site, but now is the time.

Please share the following media release, from Timothy Lee in BC. Read it and contribute however you can. This is very important to me, my family, and Rachael’s family. Click “like”, send it by e-mail, share it on facebook, do whatever it takes!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!!
much love – bonuel.

[PRESS RELEASE]

What happened to Vancouver residents Rachael Bagnall, 25, and Jonathan Jette, 34?

This question remains an unanswered mystery. Through search efforts last year, interviews and an ongoing RCMP investigation the following facts have been established:

  • The couple were both enthusiastic hikers with varying levels of experience.
  • They had left for a two to three day hike in the area of Saxifrage and Cassiope peaks, near Pemberton B.C. on Saturday Sept. 4, 2010.
  • They each had a large backpack with typical gear suitable for the terrain. In addition, they had at least one ice axe and climbing helmets; however, they had no rope or other climbing gear.
  • The couple had used the book written by Matt Gunn “Scrambles in South Western British Columbia” to plan thier trip.
  • They did not have a map, compass or GPS.
  • They were reported missing on Wednesday, September 8th, 2010.
  • Their vehicle was found on the Spetch Creek Forest Service Road, Thursday September 9th, 2010 about 14 kms north of Mount Currie.

Despite the hundreds of hours that were volunteered by dedicated BC Search and Rescue volunteers from across the Province and by concerned private citizens, neither the couple or any of thier gear has been found to date. The data from the previous search effort has been useful in that it has revealed the areas that the couple are not located in. Various hypothesis on where Jonathon and Rachael may have gone missing have been analyzed and refined to identify several higher probability search areas which are being mapped out and will be the focus of the upcoming search.

While it is unfortunate that the missing couple could not be found alive, both families would benefit from the closure of finding the remains of thier loved ones. Jonathan’s mom Lise Grenier says, “I miss my son every minute and I cry every night.”

RCMP Helicopter waiting for us

Several private citizens that volunteered in last years search had pledged to the families that they would return to the area once snow levels subsided in late August for one last major search effort. The dates for the recommencement of the planned private search effort are August 18th until August 27th. If this interests you – PLEASE JOIN US! The search team is looking for a few good volunteers. There is no pay, the work is demanding and you are not covered by WCB is you twist an ankle or break something. On the flip side it is a beautiful area of BC and you will be hiking with a purpose greater than summitting a peak or experienceing the outdoors. You will gain a sense of satisfaction from making your contribution to finding the loved ones of others and you will be sure to make some new friends along the way.

Valentine Lake

You need to know that the terrain will be rugged and there are areas of dense vegetation where you could easily become lost. In addition to the usual bugs, there are likely to be both Grizzly and Black bears in the area and a Cougar was sighted in the area last year. With the potential of finding human remains, you need to be mentally and emotionally prepared as well. You need to be in good physical condition as well as an experienced and well equipped back country hiker. In addition to the ten essentials, your personal kit must contain : a GPS unit with spare batteries, bear deterents, enough food and other supplies for the duration of your participation and if possible a programmable VHF radio. For the safety of all involved, search teams consisting of a minimum of three persons will be using search assignments that include GPS coordinates, maps and other assets. These will be provided to those choosing to participate at a later date. All searches will be conducted on non-technical terrain only that does not require aid of climbing equipment.

The family has hired three professional ACMG mountain guides to complete a separate task involving searches of the technical terrain including bergschrund, mouats, crevasses and steep drainages. We will be camping together with these guides and some of the family members at Valentine Lake. The guides are in no way coordinating the private search efforts or will they be responsible for the safety of any private citizens choosing to get involved. All those choosing to participate will be doing so at thier own risk.

Anyone that is willing to VOLUNTEER is requested to call Tim Lee at 604-866-0688 or post your interest on the following Facebook Group Page and you will be contacted privately:

http://www.facebook.com/Jonathan-Jette-and-Rachel-Bagnall/145670922141704#!/pages/Jonathan-Jette-and-Rachel-Bagnall/145670922141704

For those unable to join in the physical search, there are other ways to help. We could use help with camp set up and cooking, travel logistics, communications, mapping and GPS data management. Financial donations towards the search effort costs can also be made at any Bank of Montreal, account # 0215-001-3997-736 (Gaston Grenier in trust Jonathan Jette) or with paypall at ggrenier@misatours.ca. It’s not always easy to find and motivate volunteers that are willing to contribute to an effort like this unless they are personally connected in some way to those involved. Please consider that this could have happened to the loved ones of someone close to you. Finally, what would you hope for if it was you that were lost, or your family members? If you want to get involved, you can do so by calling right now.

Semaphore Lakes

Here are some photos from the last time we were there. I will post some more when i come back from this summer’s trip.
* click an image for larger size (cliqué sur une image pour la voir en grand format).