Were you out skiing or climbing Mt. Baker this weekend? We have a friend who is overdue. He has red hair, was most likely skiing solo, and wearing either a red or green jacket. If you have any information please call the Whatcom County Sheriffs Office (911).
If you want discuss the incident, the following search effort, SAR practices, etc. please continue on this thread here.
I have created a flyer listing his gear and description for posting at trailheads, bulletin boards, stores etc. It is in .pdf form- when I figure out how to convert it to .jpg or .gif, I will post it here. Until then, PM me with your e-mail & I'll send it to you.
Edited by ashcan (05/09/0805:39 PM)
"Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living" M.J.
I was around there early Saturday, no sign of any human activity anywhere along the CD/Roman Wall. No ski tracks or climbers, basically no evidence that anyone had been up there. No big ice avys off Colfax. Did see some smaller slides of seemingly limited depth over on Shuksan. The Coleman gl is quite smooth & heavily snowed, few open crevasses. I was looking specifically for people on the CD & Roman Wall, out of curiosity mainly, when I was there. It was 0640 to 0700 hrs.
I am sure the weather up there today would have been beyond vicious for flying. I did speak on the phone to MM at NCI about all this btw.
SEATTLE – Searchers are looking for a Lynden, Wash. man who hasn't been seen since telling friends Saturday that he intended to summit Mt. Baker.
The search for Kevin Lafleur is centered in the Heliotrope Ridge area.
The 31-year-old did not show up to work Monday and a friend reported him missing. His vehicle was found on Glacier Creek Road at the snowline, indicating he intended to climb Baker using the standard route. Related Content
KING 5 North Bureau
Bellingham Mountain Rescue volunteers and the group Snowmobile Volunteers plan to search the area in the lower Coleman Glacier. Skagit Mountain Rescue will also search the east side of the mountain in case Lafleur went into the Baker Lake area.
Three of his friends went out late this afternoon to camp at Heliotrope Ridge and plan continue their search in the morning.
Deteriorating weather conditions may hamper the search.
I can't think of anything clever.
Loc: Mount Vernon
The missing climber is Kevin LaFleur, one of my best friends and one of my two main climbing partners. He called a friend around 10am on Saturday to say hi, but we're not sure if he was high enough on the mountain for cell reception or if he was still driving there. Either way, he would have been on the CD/Roman Wall area way after John Scurlock was flying by, hence no tracks.
If anybody who was skiing off Glacier Creek Rd. has any info whatsoever on any solo climbers they saw or talked to that were planning on skinning above 7000 feet it would be very helpful. He was using Atomic Kongur skis (black with the blue splotchy marks) with Fritschi bindings; probably a red/orange jacket; probably a blue golite ski pack. He has reddish brown hair,is of average height (5'8" or so), has a stocky athletic build, and often wears a white sweatband when skinning up. He is an excellent skier and a fast climber. Below are links to two trip reports I've posted in the past six months that he's been on with me. The face shots on the second report are better, but they both give a sense of his gear and build.
I didn't hear about Kevin until I got around to reading my paper yesterday evening. Had I known sooner I would have been eager to join the search party. We're hoping and praying for him. Call me if there's any way I can help. Brandon has my number if you don't.
Our group was there last Saturday, we only saw a 3 skier group during our trip, I didn't see any track leads to CD/Roman Wall. We had followed some previous tracks on the way up but felt uncomfortable coming back down the same way. We decided to take a different route coming down due to avalanche concerns on a previously traveled slope. There wasn't any track when we came down.
Here is our track info provided by my friend Jinsi(Thanks!).
I am posting this message for Amy Brown, a friend of Kevin's:
I just got off the phone with Kevin's brother, Ryan, and he is seeking to mobilize any volunteers to help search on Sunday. The forecast for Sunday is mostly sunny, our first longer break in several days.
I also spoke with Deputy Mark Jilk (Whatcom Sheriff); SAR operations have officially been suspended and will probably remain suspended unless any signs are seen via helicopter. However, multiple helicopter agencies/companies have offered to conduct routine flights everyday as weather permits.
First and foremost we don't want anyone else getting hurt or into trouble. Experienced snowmobilers and mountaineers only are sought. You must have appropriate mountaineering skills, knowledge, experience and gear- beacon, shovel, and probe are mandatory.
Tim Terpstra is planning to establish a base camp up high and stay up there as long as the weather window holds (2-3 days?). He is seeking volunteers who could just help ferry extra supplies (food, fuel, etc.) up to the base camp. So bring extra supplies, as well, regardless of if you're planning to stay the night.
Snowmobilers in particular would be extremely helpful in helping to ferry people up to higher areas. Depending on the number of snowmobile volunteers, there is an excellent chance that you will have to hike all the way in along the Glacier Creek road- anticipate and prepare accordingly.
We also want to be extremely cautious regarding snow conditions and numbers of people heading up to higher areas. Jilk said a major avalanche was reported off the Coleman headwall that probably slid in the last day or so. Again, we don't want anyone else getting hurt or into trouble. Avalanche danger may be high on Sunday.
If you are interested in volunteering and have the skills, knowledge, experience and gear, please email me. It is preferred that you not just head up there on your own, but that you meet at the predetermined meeting place and time on Sunday morning. We want to avoid having this turn into mass chaos and someone else getting hurt.
Ryan will get in touch with me Saturday afternoon with a time and meeting place – anticipate 6am in Glacier. I will then forward this information to anyone I've heard back from. As email is more efficient, I prefer that, but I will not be able to check email until after 3pm or so Saturday afternoon.
This is not an officially coordinated SAR operation, so we're trying to do the best we can (though I did talk to the Sheriff about this). If you have radios to contribute that would be excellent. Cell phones should work up high as well.
Thanks very much. We appreciate any and all efforts and interest to help out. Be safe and in hope,
During our ascent that morning we noticed a set of skier’s tracks heading up a bowl in the direction of Grouse Ridge and then other ski tracks taking a more direct approach up Heliotrope on the right of our track. We saw 3 skiers higher up in the afternoon which were in their own group. Your friend may have followed their tracks or was the lone skier heading up grouse ridge. Feel free to contact me
During our ascent that morning we noticed a set of skier’s tracks heading up a bowl in the direction of Grouse Ridge and then other ski tracks taking a more direct approach up Heliotrope on the right of our track. We saw 3 skiers higher up in the afternoon which were in their own group. Your friend may have followed their tracks or was the lone skier heading up grouse ridge.
Good info. I expect they would want to include the Grouse Creek area in their search as skiers often use this as an approach to the upper mountain.
His family on the eastcoast can never express nor relate to you in any way shape or form, of what you are doing and have done for the LAFLEUR family and his CHRISTIAN brothers & sisters who love him dearly.
It is very evident of why KEVIN chose to live within your community and unbelievable recreational terrain. RYAN LAFLEUR has related of your immeasurable endurance, fellowship and support in this search for KEVIN.
Do not think for a moment, that all eyes in this world and above, will not see what all of you are participating in.
Sorry to only be reading this now. We were there on Saturday April 26. Parked and left the car by 12:30 p.m. Three of us on skis, one on snowshoes. Saw a snowmobiler & skier come out just before we started. We stayed to the right of Grouse Creek on the way up. Noticed the skiers mentioned above (or perhaps there were others) coming down. Did not cross anyone up close. Camped at around 6,500 ft. From about 5:00 a.m. to about 8:00 a.m. Sunday we travelled to below the col, but with winds picking up and the summit engulfed in clouds we turned around. We had seen two climbers on snowshoes ahead of us who made it to the col but turned around due to high winds. They followed our tracks to pass our camp on the way down (maybe 8:30 a.m.ish?). They told us that they had come up through the Heliotrope trail on Saturday, camped high on the glacier, and had not seen anyone else on the mtn before or after them. Sorry I don't have more information :-(. Hope you find Kevin.