Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue was paged late Monday afternoon to begin a search for brothers who failed to return to their camp site Monday morning.
The brothers from Victoria, aged 29 and 21, had set out to summit Mt. Albert Edward last Saturday afternoon.
Other hikers in the area who noticed the pair’s tent remained abandoned called RCMP and raised the concern.
CVGSAR responded immediately, establishing a search base at Raven’s Lodge and requesting helicopter support to insert search teams into high probability areas.
Despite heavy cloud cover, the first team was in the air just after 5 p.m. heading into Circlet Lake to inspect the campsite and to begin an ascent of Albert Edward.
Fortunately for the lost hikers, the cloud cover forced the helicopter to take an alternate route into the Lake and CVGSAR personnel quickly spotted the pair on a ridge along the Cruishank River canyon.
CVGSAR members were relieved to find the brothers in good condition despite their ordeal.
The pair were tired, hungry, bug bitten and scraped but sang the praises of “Survivor Man” Les Straud for his survival lessons.
The men had built a shelter and had a fire going that was extinguished by the SAR team and reported to the Coastal Fire Centre for follow-up, stated CVGSAR Search Manager, Paul Berry.
“These two brothers did everything right after realizing that they were lost in the heavy fog after coming off the mountain. They built shelter, rationed the one small bag of trail mix they had between them, kept warm and signaled searchers with the brightest object they could find.” commented Berry.
“Certainly better planning, knowledge of the terrain, an accurate map, a GPS and a communication device could have aided the pair in reaching aid much sooner. Had the weather not allowed for helicopter travel this would have been a much longer and more extensive search operation.”