The family of a man who went missing on Cypress Mountain during a snowshoeing trip over two years ago has applied to the courts to have him declared presumed dead.
Chun Sek Lam, 64, and a friend, Roy Lee, 43, disappeared after going snowshoeing on Christmas Day in 2016. Neither of the men have been seen or heard from since.
Now Lam’s brother has filed a petition asking the courts to declare him presumed dead.
Lee’s family filed a similar request in September, after the two men had been missing for 21 months.
Both men were frequent hikers and snowshoers, and had made many trips to Cypress in the past.
Lam was close to his family, including his mother and brother, and since retiring from a career as a chef had lived an active lifestyle, including hiking two or three times a week, according to court documents.
On the evening of Dec. 25, 2016, a Cypress park ranger found Lee’s abandoned car in the parking lot for Cypress.
An extensive air and ground search, hampered by snow and avalanche danger, was mounted by North Shore Rescue for the two snowshoers over the next four days. But no trace of the men turned up.
According to searchers, the last time one of their cellphones “pinged” a local tower, it put them north of Mount Strachan, near St. Mark’s off the Howe Sound Crest Trail.
The search was eventually called off after about a week.
In May 2017, several items belonging to Lee and Lam, including a boot, snowshoe and an iPhone were found in the Capilano Reservoir area. That prompted an extensive search of nearby creeks, including use of an underwater camera. But nothing further was found.
In the petition to the court, Lam’s brother said Lam showed no behaviour that was out of the ordinary in the time leading up to his disappearance and lived a stable, simple life, cooking a family meal just days before he disappeared. “This is not a case where the missing person had a compelling motive to disappear or fake his own death,” Lam’s brother wrote in the petition.
“The extensive searches conducted by (North Shore Rescue) and the police investigation all indicated that Chun Sek Lam’s disappearance was due to an accident that occurred while he was snowshoeing that ultimately led to his death.”