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.


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