Saturday, July 27, 2002

Today I and four others (Bruce, Max, Michelle and Marc) went up the Rainbow Mountain trail. It was the first time I'd gotten out of the condo except for media interviews. This was my chance to see the trail that Brian is thought to have taken.

It was a benign trail in today's perfect weather. I have not hiked in years, but it was easy to ascend past Rainbow Lake into the beautiful alpine meadows with spectacular views dwarfing those of Whistler. It is spring there, and the flowers are in bloom and the streams run cool and clear. The snow Brian would have walked upon is mostly gone, though in fact this terrain is easier to cross when snow covered. Nothing on the trail today would have greatly challenged Emily, much less Brian. 21 mile creek has been described as impassable, but despite recent snow melt it seemed typical of a Rocky Mountain stream. It would be quite fordable by an experienced hiker if the need should arise, and Brian was both strong and experienced. Even if he were coming down this trail in the dark, with his headlamp he would have managed the trail easily. If somehow he'd been trapped in the rain, there's abundant shelter everywhere. He would have found a reasonably dry spot, thought admittedly there is less snow now than there was.

One has to assume that several things went wrong; none individually so serious, but all together they could have produced this disaster. Perhaps Brian fell and broke both his glasses and his headlamp. It's very hard to guess.

We all assume he would have tried for Rainbow peak had he been on that mountain. None of us have been up there; it is well beyond my skill level. Still, those who have come close believe it is quite doable and should not have presented Brian with great challenges. It is a scramble or walk up, depending on the approach -- not a technical climb. Given Brian's great hiking speed, twice mine, he could have gone up, done the peak, and been down before dark (which is quite late here).

Andre, Michael and Sebastian came down from Wedgemount without a problem. Anton worked on copying a security tape for us and has had to return to Vancouver. He may return if we need him. Kevin has had to return to Montreal, he left early this morning and we miss him. Marc and Michelle are very experienced climbers, it is good to have them here.

We have quite a crew here, and Marta, Nick, Gambrelli, Anton and Lea today finished most of the local work we've identified. At the same time Lea spoke with a retired S&R expert who wishes to join this search. So the plan tomorrow is for all of us to search some selected areas, with each doing areas appropriate for their skill and experience.

The area around Rainbow Mountain is vast. Searching for one person there is like searching a small city, but a city in which there are no inhabitants and in which travel is very challenging. Still, we have a couple of places we would like to visit.

At the moment I have an airplane flight to Minneapolis late Sunday. Most of us may leave Sunday, but Marta is planning to stay on through Tuesday.


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