'I really hope he is alive,' says friend of hiker missing since Oct. 31
Published Monday, November 6, 2017 4:54PM PST
Four days into the search for Carl Couture, friends say they're concerned for the missing hiker who was last seen on Oct. 31 wearing a fleece top and running shoes.
Annie Coulombe, Couture's friend from back home in Quebec, says he's not a very experienced hiker and she's worried he wasn't prepared to spend nights in the mountains.
"It really stresses me because I suppose he doesn't have anything in his bag besides his banana and water," she said. "Six days in the forest is really too much for Carl."
She last saw Couture two weeks ago when she came to Vancouver for work. She spent time with him running in Stanley Park and they went for dinner in the city.
"He's a really good person. Attentive, emotional, [active] in society with the animal cause… the vegan cause… He really has compassion," she said. "I really hope he is alive."
Couture recently moved to Vancouver from Quebec. Coulombe says he wanted to practice his English.
Another friend, Marie-Pierre Fecteau, says he wanted to see more of the country.
"He has the talent to make every situation funny," Fecteau said. "We are all worried."
Another friend of Couture's told CTV News that he was interested in the Wim Hof Method—a philosophy developed by a man who summited Mount Everest–that preaches breathing techniques coupled with mindfulness and cold exposure can bring health benefits.
Coulombe knows Couture appreciates Wim Hof, but doesn't think he would put himself in danger to practice the techniques.
"I think he went into the mountains to make a good day of hiking," she said. "I think he wanted to pass only one day and come to his house at night."
Couture was reported missing on Nov. 2 after he failed to show up for work. He hasn't been in communication with anyone since Oct. 31.
Police obtained surveillance footage from Grouse Mountain Resort that showed Couture at the uphill chalet on Halloween day. It is believed he then headed out on the Hanes Valley trail.
North Shore Rescue crews have been searching the backcountry in the area since Friday. Their helicopter has been shuttling crews around the snow-covered mountains while a second helicopter mounted with a thermal camera looks for heat signatures.
"It's just a huge amount of area and it's a challenge for us to get that covered," said search manager Jeffrey Arnold.
There's been substantial snowfall since Couture embarked on his hike on Tuesday. Alpine areas have seen more than a foot, says Arnold.
"It's very challenging for our searchers. It's cold. Our guys are coming back and they're freezing… and they're dressed for the conditions," said Arnold.
He urged hikers to not go out by themselves, to leave a route plan and have a backup plan to call for help in case something goes wrong.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Shannon Paterson