Thursday, August 22, 2002

The RCMP will be doing an aerial search in the next two weeks or so once the latest snow clears. This may be a time of maximal snow/ice clearance. We are putting up a map outlining potential areas for a focused aerial search, but I'm not a skilled map reader and Andrei and Bruce will better define these regions.

The MOC is assembling some photos for the memorial service. Natalie reports receiving additional MOC donations (thank you all). The memorial service page also describes the memorial fund.

Sunday, August 18, 2002

Information on the September 28th memorial service is available here. We'll add more detail soon.

Friday, August 16, 2002

(See memorial service note of 8/15/02.)

We are working on directions for an aerial search of the snow and ice areas around Rainbow Peak, hoping that the August melt will expose more areas.

We are interested in the moat at the base of Rainbow mountain, but it will be very hard to search from the air. There's a sort of pseudo-crevasse on a snow field that's adjacent to the snow pack one follows glissading off Rainbow peak. On July 11th that crevasse-like structure would have likely been covered by a snow bridge. SAR did search it from the air, but now it will be more exposed. This picture indicates the general vicinity of this structure.

I also want to look at the area of Beverly Creek that's a natural extension of a glissade off the peak. That area was searched originally by Whistler SAR and about 10 days later by our group, but the snow/ice that covered Beverly Creek will now be much diminished.

We welcome any thoughts on ice/snow regions to search at the end of this month.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Memorial Service

The memorial service for Brian will be on Saturday Sept 28, 2002 around 11am ET. The service will be followed by a reception in the church hall. The church is Catholic, but the service will ecumenical. This page has more details.

Address: John Fisher Church
120 Summerhill Avenue (off Valois Bay Avenue)
Pointe Claire, Quebec H9R 2L7, Tel. (514) 695 0205.
Click here for map.

I'll be sending out notices via email to the addresses I have, but if you knew Brian please consider yourself personally invited. Friends and family of friends and welcome too.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Our family is proceding with plans for a memorial service, which will most likely be towards the end of September. In the meantime we've learned that the time of minimal snow/ice coverage in the Rainbow Mountain area is likely towards the end of August or the beginning of September. We're working (esp. Steven) on arranging an aerial survey around that time. It would cover some of the same areas as the original search, but some of the snow and ice covered regions will now be exposed.

Natalie turned up a satellite photo taken of the Rainbow Mountain area on 7/11. Radarsat has promised to send it to her at no cost. It may help friends and family better understand the terrain, and it will show where the snow was around the time Brian was in Whistler.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Brian's parents have posted an announcement in the Montreal Gazette for Friday/Saturday August 9-10, 2002. It reads as follows:
Brian D. Faughnan, BEng, MEng, BA.
Lost while climbing in Whistler B.C. July 13th 2002.
He leaves to mourn his parents Frank and Sheila Faughnan his siblings John
(Emily), Steven (Josie), Claire (Mike), his niece Lauren and nephews Tim and
Ben. He will be missed by his many friends and extended family.
He gave his body to the mountain
His soul to God
His spirit to all who loved him
Our profound gratitude goes to the members and alumni of the McGill Outdoors Club who helped with Brian's search and supported us, to the volunteer search and rescue team in Whistler B.C., and to the people of Whistler who have been very generous and kind.

The Brian Faughnan Memorial Fund, c\o 120 Windcrest Ave, Pointe Claire Quebec H9R 3W1 has been established to benefit the above groups and to cover the costs of searches.


Tuesday, August 06, 2002

The MOC (McGill Outdoors Club) has collected some money to help cover expenses of MOC members who assisted with the search for Brian. They could still use some additional donations. Checks can be made to "McGill Outing Club", and sent either to Natalie Racien, or to Oliver O'Boyle:

  • Natalie Racine, 4279 Chambord, Montreal, QC H2J 3M3

  • Oliver O'Boyle, 410 rue St.Francois Xavier, Apt 5, Montreal, QC H2Y 2S9

The Brian Faughnan family is also preparing a memorial fund that will accept donations in lieu of flowers, etc. That may be operational in a week or so, and in part it will also make contributions to cover MOC expenses.

We've all been trying to explain to others what this experience is like. The best analogy, though it's imperfect, is to someone who's gone MIA in war time. The person is almost certainly dead, but there's always a shadow of doubt until a body is found. I am often asked if Brian could have taken his own life, or gone into hiding. Both seem very unlikely. He had not seemed depressed to anyone who knew him, nor is he known to have had a major depresssion at any time in his life. All of his correspondence that we've retrieved was upbeat with interest in many projects he'd begun work on. He had many short and near-term plans underway. As for voluntarily "disappearing", there are again no signs of him preparing to do so, there's evidence of quite different intent, he left money and basic outdoor gear behind that would have been very useful, and we know of no motivation for such an act. There are much easier and less painful ways to change one's life.

The overwhelming likelihood is that Brian experienced a fatal accident while hiking alone and off trail and that his body is inaccessible. Next, and far less likely, would be some sort of foul play (we have inquired with a Vancouver private investigation firm if there's been any pattern of such adult male disappearances, but we don't expect any). After that, I suppose, come "space aliens" (The latter is an example of the dark sense of humor that Brian and I shared, not a serious suggestion).

We are interested in an aerial sweep of ice covered areas around Rainbow Peak during this season's maximal melt time, in case his body has been exposed. We imagine a search of a few hours. Reports suggest that late August or early September may be a time of relatively exposure. We don't know if the RCMP will approve any funding for that type of body search or if we'll do that privately. This is also one of the questions that we've raised with a Vancouver private investigation firm.

I don't know of any way to inspect the "moat" around Rainbow Peak. That is the space between the rock wall and the snow pack/glacier. That may be an engineering problem as much as anything else.

Nick Cowan went up to Whistler this weekend. In part he was going to retrieve any trip reports from (25! The MOC team worked hard.) areas, but he also experience a bit of the conditions common to the Pacific part of the Rocky Mountain range. (I have received several reports from the web site; no remarkable news but I'll collate them.) He reported:

I did the rounds of 25 hotels on Saturday afternoon. A few people recognised me, all were sympathetic and helpfull but unfortunately none of the forms had been filled out. The consensus seems to be that locals simply don't venture out onto the major trails very often compared to the tourists. I did rip out the articles about the search from the Pique and the Question. In any case, I left the forms up there but if they haven't been filled out yet it seems unlikely that any good will come of them.

I went for a two-day turned one-long-day hike up Singing Pass. The trail isn't nearly as well maintained as I expected for a "hiker highway". We heard a rockslide and got caught in a blizzard up on the musical bumps. The fog, rain and snow made it quite challenging to find the next cairns. The gondolla had stopped running by the time we got to the top of Whistler so we hiked down the hill as dusk fell.