Fateful decision may have saved hiker who lost 5 friends
Published Tuesday, April 11, 2017 7:15PM PDT
A fateful last minute decision by a Coquitlam man may have saved his life on Saturday but the tragedy that killed five of his friends will haunt him forever.
YC Kim planned to join other members of MJM Hiking Club on a trip to Mount Harvey, near Lions Bay, but decided to stay home because of the weather.
"Everything was ready to go, and I looked outside and it was pouring rain," he said.
Despite the weather, the rest of the group went ahead with the Saturday hike, but most of them did not make it back home.
Five of the six hikers at Mount Harvey made it to the summit and were on a cornice, an unsupported snow ledge, when it gave way and sent them plummeting 500 metres straight down.
Search and rescue volunteers recovered their bodies from the deep snow in an avalanche chute the next day.
"They just loved the great nature of this country and they're very appreciative of the mountains and the creeks and the rivers that we have in B.C.," said Kim.
"They will be very much missed. Every mountain, every peak we hike. And we will remember the passion and enthusiasm that they had."
Yong Jun Sohn, 56, was a retired South Korean special forces soldier and was known by his friends as "Chinook."
Nicknamed "The Walking GPS," Kay Chung was 66 and organized the fateful outing.
Known for her jokes on the trail, Ruth Kim was also 66 years old.
Iris Cho, a Langley nurse, was 50.
And recently immigrated 40-year-old Jay Choi had plans to bring his wife and two children to Canada from Korea.
Similar in age and both with young children, Kim was particularly close to Choi.
"One thing that makes me really sad is that there's no need for me to bring a two-person tent for the trip," he said.
Kim and his wife have set up a GoFundMe page for the families of the victims.
Once funeral arrangements have been made, MJM Hiking Club will focus on planning something special to honour the search and rescue volunteers who recovered their friends.