Brian Faughnan - Main | Journal (blog) | Brian - Summary | Brian - Missing | In Memoriam | Guide for Friends & Families of Lost Persons

Brian Faughnan - Summary

  • Introduction
  • Pictures
  • Hiking Behavior Q&A
  • 103 Hikes Information
  • Contact
  • Links
  • History
  • Rev: 08/01/2010 10:02:18 PM CT.

    See Brian - Missing for introduction to this web site.

    Introduction and History

    Brian Faughnan was last seen Friday July 12, 2002 in the vicinity of the The Shoestring Lodge, Whistler, BC Canada.

    Brian left Montreal for Vancouver on July 9th, and called home that evening. He last checked his email on July 10th. On Thursday July 11th he traveled from the Vancouver Youth Hostel to Whistler with with Bigfoot Adventure Tours, on the Moose Run Tour. He left a large pack, a blue Lowe Alpine jacket, and his climbing gear at the Youth Hostel in storage. He played volleyball with two women who were on the tour Thursday night, probably by the Shoestring Lodge. Thursday afternoon, near Brandywine creak, he discussed the Rainbow Trail with Steve, his tour bus driver. He showed Steve the Brandywine topo map, and based on the tour book he tried to imagine the trails overlaid on the topo map. The driver, based on past reports, described an ascent to Rainbow peak as very enjoyable 9.5 hour day hike. Later that night Brian played volleyball with two women (roommates) from the tour group.

    On Friday July 12th he told this roommates that he would go out seeking a peak and snow, and might not return for the next day's bus departure. A security video recorded him leaving the Shoestring Lodge at @ 9:57 AM PT with a full day pack. At @ 10:30AM he asked directions of Steve (bus driver) to the Valley Trail (not, as we'd thought, the Rainbow Trail).  Around this time he may have gone to "Wild Willy's" and obtained a photocopied portion of the central part of the Whistler Area Topographic and Street Map.

    He appears to have been carrying a yellow day pack with a climbing or ice-axe lashed to the back, he might have had a jacket tied to it. He likely had crampons and an ice-axe with him, but was not carrying a sleeping bag and was likely not carrying a tent. He was probably carrying the 103 Hikes in Southwestern British Columbia book, the Brandywine topographic map (See 103 Hikes Information), and a photocopied portion of the Whistler Area Topographic and Street Map. See Brian - Missing for a full description.

    The weather was sunny and pleasant that Friday, as it had been for a few days. By 3am Saturday July 12th the weather changed to rainy, cooler and overcast. It remained that way until July 18th.

    The tour group left for their next destination Saturday July 13th at 8am. Brian was not on board. Lodge checkout was later in the day. His gear was found in the room at that time. He left behind his passport, his day planner, his sleeping bag, clothing, and a diskette with some of his film writing work on it. The hotel checked with BigFoot adventure tours, and when they learned he was not on the bus they contacted the RCMP at 3:16pm on  July 15th (see contacts, below). His family was notified Tuesday July 16th, 2002 that he was missing. On Wed July 17th the RCMP activated the Whistler Search and Rescue team after Steven Faughnan traveled to Whistler to meet with the RCMP.

    A search and rescue effort began Wednesday, July 17th 2002. It was as intense as the weather allowed, but the helicopter flights were limited by a low ceiling.

    On Thursday, July 18th, the Search and Rescue team and Steven spent the day interviewing people, reviewing data, checking purchase records and planning. On Friday July 19th the most intense search began under improving conditions, focusing on the Rainbow/Sproat Peak area with no findings. The RCMP then placed the search on hold. On Sunday, July 21, a limited search in the same region was triggered by reports of  a footprint, but that was determined to be a false clue. On Sunday July 21 the RCMP terminated the search but maintains a missing person file.

    If you came in contact with Brian, and especially if you have any ideas on where he would have traveled that Saturday, please contact us (see contacts, below). If you know people who might know something, please send this page reference to them. Any information may be important. We are seeking reports from anyone who traveled Whistler trails on the 12th of July to identify areas he didn't visit.

    It is possible that he has been rock scrambling or doing some snow/ice climbing and was injured off-trail. He has a history of a climbing accident resulting in blindness of the right eye, but he is in overall excellent physical condition with some residual scarring of his left arm.

    A large amount of circumstantial evidence suggests he was not suicidal in any way; he had many amiable ongoing social contacts and plans. There is no evidence that he intended to "disappear", and the articles he left behind in his room don't fit that.

    (click on each for a larger image)

    June 2001: Brian, Ben and John Faughnan
    June 2001 - Brian is to the left in the red jacket.

    Summer 2002, sunglasses
    0206_brian.jpg (232759 bytes)
    June 2002
    0112_brian.jpg (59927 bytes)
    December 2001

    Summer 2002 Contacts

    Hiking Behavior Q&A

    In general, Brian is adventurous and willing to take some risks, but he's not reckless. He can be persistent at tackling a particular challenge. He has a lot of hiking experience including many off-trail excursions in the Adirondack mountains in NY. He prefers to hike with company and is religious about using sign-in logs when they are available. (As a budget-cutting maneuver most of the BC hikes have removed their sign-in logs.)

    1. How far can Brian hike in a day?

    He appears to be in good shape. We just did a ~10 mile hike including some steep uphills without difficulty.

    2. How much food does he normally bring?

    Normally 2L of water. I don't really know about food. I imagine that this can vary quite a bit. He would bring a good amount if he had it, but would be willing to go with less if he didn't have anything handy.

    3. Does he have an urge to "reach the top" even if he knows that it is too late or would be too dangerous to continue?

    Prior to his climbing accident, he often finished hikes in the dark, usually using a headlamp. He is generally fairly cautious, but if he thinks he should succeed at something he will be very persistent at attacking it.

    4. What are his skills in walking in snow pack (the type you would see in the rockies at the top of mountains)?

    Fine prior to his climbing accident. He still has soreness in his right foot, but on recent outings he has been very strong.

    5. Does he easily get lost?

    He seems to get lost a bit more often than some of his fellow outing club veterans, but he is quick to correct himself and backtrack.

    6. If he got lost, would he think of finding a stream and walking down it?


    8. If he got lost, would he roam around endlessly or do you think he would stay put, leave a trail so that people could find him, etc?

    I think he would first roam around for quite a while.

    9. Does he have a tendency to go off trail if he sees something interesting?

    Yes, but it's difficult to judge what he would do on his own.

    10. What kinds of trails does he like?

    He likes to "bag a peak" and he likes loops in the high alpine.

    11. Does he take excessive or foolish risks?

    By mountaineer standards he is judged to be fairly careful.

    103 Hikes Information

    Brian had bought a book in BC called 103 Hikes in Southwestern British Columbia. He appears to have taken this with him on his day hike based on some purchase records at a Vancouver store. The scanned pages of this book are at, but this is very hard to print. Try either this 900K pdf version or (best by far) this 1.3MB word 2000 version for something more printable and viewable. Printing will be very slow even on a faster computer.

    It specifically mentions:

    ... a number of other excursions are quite feasible. Rainbow Mountain itself is an easy ascent: continue west along the length of the lake before striking upward to the ridge west of the peak. Another possibility is the short sidetrip to Gin and Tonic lakes, reached by turning left off the main trail before it crosses Twenty-One Mile Creek and heading up the valley to the west. From Tonic Lake, if you are really enthusiastic, you may make for Sproatt Ridge with its panoramic views.

    The markers are covered by snow at this time of year.


    RCMP, Whistler
    Reference File# 02-4306
    Missing person investigation
    Constable Tammy Keibel (7/06)
    office: 604-932-3044
    fax: 604-905-1961
    Whistler Search and Rescue
    4315 Blackcomb Way
    Whistler, B. C. V0N 1B4
    phone: 604-932-2328 (outdated page)
    John Faughnan
    1661 Wellesley Avenue
    Saint Paul, MN 55105-2007
    cell: 651-336-5548
    home: 651-699-0920


    Rainbow Mountain


    Whistler and BC