WATCH: A man from New Mexico took a wrong turn when he was coming down Mount Albert Edward in Strathcona Provincial Park Sunday then ended up in a lake, soaking his clothes and matches.
Searchers from the Comox Valley, Campbell River and Arrowsmith were called Monday morning to search for a hiker missing in the mountains of Strathcona Provincial Park.
“We had a report of an overdue hiker,” said Paul Berry, search manager for Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue. “We were told that he had headed off yesterday morning at about 6:30 to summit Albert-Edward and then return and he had not returned overnight.”
The mountains had received about 15 centimetres of fresh snow temperatures over the last two nights.
“We were able to locate tracks in the snow on Mount Jutland and we were working to follow those,” added Berry.
But about 18 hours after his hike began, the man from New Mexico was found walking his way out to safety and was soon met by friends and workers who were building the new zip line on Mount Washington.
“I just made a wrong turn.” said Tell Lowrance.
That’s how quickly what was supposed to be a day hike up Albert-Edward turned into a life threatening situation for Lowrance who had set out in shorts with meagre supplies.
“So what happened is I made it to the peak and immediately turned around and started going down the mountain and instead of taking the stones back down, I took the stones going up to the other peak.” he said.
Stones are markers on the trails.
It was getting too dark to retrace his steps so he headed straight down to a lake he saw below him but he then slid down the mountainside into the water.
“Got soaked and decided I needed to make camp so I got naked down to my boxers and wrapped myself up in some space blankets and then waited until sunrise.” said Lowrance.
He did have some gear including matches but it all got wet in the lake. If it wasn’t for the space blanket, which is used to retain body heat, he might not have made it out at all.
Paul Berry says he has been working with BC Parks staff to get better signage on the mountain.
“This would be the eighth overdue or missing hiker on Albert-Edward this season since about mid August,” he said.
Lowrance was surprised by the huge effort to find him and says one of his biggest mistakes was not having his matches in a plastic bag.
He thanked searchers who had been out looking for him.