Mark Gayowski was missing on Red Mountain for more than two days in a terrible snowstorm. (Submitted photo)

Skier found safe on Red Mountain in treacherous terrain

Successful end to three-day search for 34-year-old Mark Gayowski

A three-day search for a missing skier on Rossland’s Red Mountain has ended in success.

But it wasn’t easy.

Mark Gayowski was found in good health on New Year’s Day by search and rescue teams scouring a very rough patch of the mountainside along Esling Creek.

He was lost in an area with hundreds of huge downed trees, treacherous potholes with running creek underneath, and confusing terrain.

“It was so treacherous, it took our teams six hours to get in, and they didn’t get far,” says Mike Hudson, the South Columbia SAR leader. “Horrific is the best word to describe it.”

“The rescuers were falling off into the creek, it was horrible trying to climb over, under, and around all this stuff, especially with skis on.”

The search was hard from the start, with about 90 SAR members starting the search Monday night in heavy snowfall conditions, cold, fog, and freezing rain.

Rescuers got into the area a few hours earlier on New Years Day, Hudson says, and took a route that got them around some of the worst of the creek’s terrain, where they found Gayowski.

“He was in great health, had a smile but was extremely exhausted, but very happy to see the rescuers,” says Hudson.

A few minutes after locating the man, and with weather co-operating, Dam Helicopters of Nelson flew in and picked him up.

“The sky opened up in just the right time,” says Hudson. “The heli came down, picked up the subject, pulled him out, went back, picked up the teams and pulled them out. Then the sky closed back up and that was it. It was just perfect.”

The 34-year-old Rossland native was airlifted out of the backcountry and brought to SAR’s location at Red Mountain, where he was checked over by physicians.

It wasn’t the only search for SAR on New Year’s Day on Red. They received a second call for a young man who went missing on the mountain. Hudson says it turned out the youth walked up the mountain in tennis shoes and a light jacket, and eventually found shelter in a ski patrol shack. That incident took about two hours to clear.

Teams from Rossland, Castlegar, Nelson, Kaslo, Grand Forks, Kimberly and Cranbrook all participated in the searches, as well as RCMP.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Milestone RCMP Cops For Kids fundraiser ride going virtual

You can join and help RCMP raise funds for families and possibly win 20th anniversary cycling shirt

Hwy 1 flooding causes massive delays on certain Arrow Lakes ferry routes

Motorists have been waiting around three hours to get on ferries

Nelson cyclist run over by truck

Driver ticketed for failing to yield right of way on left turn

Flooding at Castlegar’s Millennium Park delays opening of swimming ponds

The park’s third pond rose after BC Hydro increased its discharge rates at the Keenleyside Dam

Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre expands operations online

The facility also opened back up to the public earlier in June

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Most Read