Former Amazing Race Canada contestant dead after apparent fall from B.C. peak
Published Wednesday, August 28, 2019 4:51PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 29, 2019 6:22AM PDT
Friends and family are mourning former Amazing Race Canada contestant Kenneth McAlpine, who died in what appears to have been a tragic fall from a B.C. mountain peak.
The 28-year-old was reported missing Monday evening after he failed to return from a hike on Mount Gimli, a popular destination in the province's Southern Interior.
Several rescue teams from the area were dispatched to find him, but the search ended in tragedy the next day. McAlpine was found about 260 metres below the path where authorities believe he'd been hiking near Gimli's upper peak.
On Wednesday, his family and friends remembered McAlpine as an experienced outdoorsman with an incredible zest for life.
"He packed a ton of living into 28 years," his father Mac McAlpine told CTV News over the phone. "There was no grass growing under his feet."
The unexpected tragedy triggered hundreds of messages of mourning on social media. McAlpine made a lot of fans appearing on Season 5 of Amazing Race Canada, where he was on "Team Give'r" with his best friend Ryan Lachappelle.
The pair named their team after their personal motto – a call to seize the day, which they used to inspire others after making it to second place on the show.
Off the air, McAlpine was an elder in his church who had even officiated a couple of weddings. He was also a talented chef who poured his passion into his meals, according to his father.
"But as soon as he got done cooking, he was outdoors, and he biked and hiked and kayaked and surfed," Mac McAlpine said.
"He was an exceptional man. And I'm proud that he was our son."
Search and rescue crews said the hiker, who grew up in Ontario before moving to B.C. about six years ago, appears to have done everything right when he headed up onto Gimli on Monday. He left behind a pre-hike plan, which made it easier for rescuers to track down his location.
Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do to help him.
Mike Hudson, president of South Columbia Search and Rescue, said crews spotted McAlpine from the air while they were being flown onto the mountain by helicopter Tuesday morning.
"It appears that he'd taken a fall, and that's when we went in and recovered him," Hudson said.
The recovery process was difficult and highly technical, requiring a second helicopter and a long-line team. Hudson said they managed to bring the body off the mountain by about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The RCMP is continuing to investigate McAlpine's death, along with the BC Coroners Service, but said foul play is not suspected.