The level of concern has been raised for missing hiker Sylvia Apps, who was last seen July 11 south on Castlecrag Mountain, said Paul Berry of Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue.
Berry, the information officer/SAR manager for the volunteer organization, told media more items have been found today from the experienced 69-year-old hiker which does raise the level of concern for both the family and the search team.
“We knew that what was not contained in the pack was her iPhone and we did find that as well as a fleece jacket – a sweater – and one of her hiking poles,” he noted.
“She had two cell phones with her and a back-up battery. This is a lady who came really well prepared for her trek. She phoned on (July) 8th when she left and nothing further in the phone throughout the day. She took some photos. We’ve GPS located where the photos were, and they’re all in the early stages of her trek here.”
Apps went hiking July 8 at 11 a.m. from Paradise Meadows on Mount Washington. According to Comox Valley RCMP, she was equipped with navigation and safety equipment and has previously made long treks.
She was set to return July 13 at 4 p.m. at her starting point.
Earlier this week, CVSAR found her blue backpack which contained everything except her walking poles and her camera.
Berry said the items were found in a different area from where the backpack was located.
“We don’t know when these items were dropped, located there. We know she was on the summit of Castlecrag on the 10th, she signed in on the register, so potentially these items could have fallen and she could have lost them then, and she might have been looking for them the following day, we don’t know.”
He added the terrain the team is currently searching is a vertical drop off the north face of the mountain, with some small snow fields behind.
“It’s highly technical. Right now we have a rope team descending into the area from above and we have a mountain rescue team climbing the snowfield below to take a look a the small crevasse to take a look between the rock face and the snow face.”
Berry said the teams believes if Apps is down in the area of one of the drainages, there lots of access to water, and overnight temperatures have been easily survivable.
” … we know this is a lady who is tough as nails and is not a quitter. The boys (her sons) said they fully expected when she came off the mountain on Sunday she might not phone for a ride, she just might walk the 31 kilometres home.”
Call out for more volunteers
The search is going to continue through the weekend of July 19th and 20th so that searchers can cover more area.
The Comox Valley Search and Rescue are asking for volunteers in the search as there is so much terrain to cover with the people they have. Some of the teams have been on the search for six days now and require some rest before continuing. Search and Rescue are asking that the volunteers have knowledge of the area and are able to navigate the back country using GPS and Compass and willing to work under the direction of Search and Rescue personnel. If you are able to assist you are asked to attend the Raven lodge for a 09:00 AM briefing Saturday morning.
Comox Valley RCMP