Helicopters, dogs, drones continue search for missing climbers near Squamish

Search efforts for three missing climbers have resumed near Squamish, B.C.

The search picked up again Thursday around 5:30 a.m. in the Atwell Peak area on the southern edge of Garibaldi Mountain.

Rescue teams are in the air in three helicopters, and ground crews are working the area with avalanche search dogs and drones.

On Wednesday, crews were hopeful that a break in cloudy weather would allow them a clearer view of the area where the climbers are believed to be missing.

Unfortunately, Squamish Search and Rescue said the search on Wednesday continued to be hampered by low clouds over Atwell Peak.

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

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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.

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“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.

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

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.

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.

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— with files from Simon Little

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