Lost hiker spends cold, wet night alone in Vancouver Island wilderness
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Tuesday, October 30, 2018 9:24AM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 30, 2018 9:37AM PDT
A zipline technician spent a cold night naked and alone one of Vancouver Island's tallest peaks, and it wasn't for a reality show.
Tell Lowrance, who is from New Mexico, was in the Campbell River area working on installing a zipline on Mount Washington.
But on Sunday morning, he set off to explore another mountain in Strathcona Park.
"We were told that he headed off yesterday morning about 6:30 to summit Albert Edward and return, and he had not returned overnight," Comox Valley Search and Rescue President Paul Berry said Monday.
The SAR team launched a search along with coworkers looking for the missing 20 year old, shuttling people in a helicopter to and from Strathcona Park.
Fresh snow that fell overnight helped searchers and a canine unit to track their target, but in the end, Lowrance made his own way out of the wilderness.
He told search crews that he had followed the wrong markers down the mountain.
"It was getting pretty dark to start retracing my steps and I wanted to get out of the snow, so I went down to the lake that I saw below to get out of the snow and warm up a little bit," he said. "On the way down I had a perilous journey, fell in the water, got soaked and decided I needed to make camp."
Having also lost his cell phone, Lowrance decided to spend the night on the mountain.
"I got naked, down to my boxers, and wrapped myself up in some space blankets and then waited 'til sunrise," he said.
Lowrance appeared to be very remorseful for the large response.
"Boy, I was not expecting this," he said. "But I do appreciate it. It's really cool, but I'm sorry for all the trouble, I really am. I did not mean for it to take this long."
Searchers say it's the eighth time a hiker has been overdue in the area since mid-August.
They said they will discuss the possibility of better signage in the area with BC Parks staff.
VIDEO: Visiting worker from New Mexico thankful to @ComoxValleySAR volunteers and co-workers who helped search for him after he spent last night in Strathcona Park after heading in the wrong direction. Details tonight on @CTVNewsVI pic.twitter.com/GxPYvIUBKy— Gord Kurbis (@CTVNewsGord) October 30, 2018