UPDATE: Search suspended for missing Vancouver Island hiker

Searchers scoured Strathcona Park near Gold River for experienced 65-year-old on 40-kilometre trek

A search for a 65-year-old hiker missing in an isolated area of Strathcona Park was suspended Tuesday evening after four days of investigation and efforts by teams from across B.C., the man’s hiking companions and the RCMP.

Laurence Philippsen of Black Creek, described as an experienced solo hiker, embarked on a 40-kilometre trek Monday, June 29. He was expected to return Thursday.

“The decision to suspend a search is always the most deeply considered and difficult decision to make as family and search teams are left searching for answers with respect to Laurence’s disappearance,” states a post on the Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue Facebook page. “All involved in the search for Laurence wish to extend their heart-felt condolences to his family at this difficult time.”

Five search and rescue teams from Vancouver Island and four from the Lower Mainland began searching Friday. On Monday, CVGSAR manager Paul Berry said seven provincial teams were still operating in the field.

“The search area within Strathcona Park is focused on Filberg Mountain (east of Gold River) today,” Berry said Monday. “Exhaustive ground and air search has been conducted since Friday, covering high alpine areas with complex class 3/4 mountain terrain in early summer conditions.”

The technical terrain is centred around five mountain peaks, each more than 6,000 feet high.

Philippsen’s car is still parked where he left it at the beginning of his hike.

He is described as Caucasian, five foot six, 160 pounds, with short silver hair and glasses. He has a large surgical scar on his back.

He was last seen wearing a blue T-shirt, blue fleece sweater, beige hiking pants and carrying a large beige hiking pack.

Philippsen also has a red tent for shelter.

RCMP asks if anyone had any conversations with Philippsen about this particular trip to contact Nootka Sound RCMP at 250-283-2227.

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Search and rescue teams spent four days looking for a hiker from Black Creek who has gone missing in the backcountry of Strathcona Park. Photo supplied

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