Family, friends continue search for missing hiker 

Brian Faughnan has been missing for two weeks

For the past week and a half John Faughnan has set up a temporary command post in a Whistler condo to co-ordinate efforts to find his missing brother.

It’s been two weeks now since 35-year-old Brian Faughnan, a Montreal native who came to Whistler to hike, was last seen at the Shoestring Lodge. Police believe he was planning to hike near Rainbow Lake.

"I’m still in shock," said Faughnan, who is desperate for any clue of his brother’s whereabouts.

"I’m trying to keep very busy and keep moving. I have lists of things to do and I try not to think too much."

On the lists of things to do is handing out posters, updating a family Web site and talking to people around town.

"It’s all designed to jog people’s memory," he said, hoping any clue will make that magic connection and lead him to his brother.

Whistler RCMP and Search and Rescue called off the search last Friday, July 19 after spending several days intensively combing Rainbow Mountain on ground and via helicopter.

Now it’s up to Brian’s friends and family.

Members from the McGill Outdoors Club have made the journey west to help out.

Brian was a member of the club, which takes people rock climbing, scrambling, hiking, canoeing and kayaking, among other adventures.

"I would just be going crazy if I wasn’t here helping," said Marta Cooper, the 28-year-old vice president of the club.

She met Brian on her first trip out with the club. It was a scrambling trip.

"He was the kind of person that you would want to do a trip with," she said, describing her friend as helpful and enthusiastic and someone who never complained about having to wake up early or help with the cooking.

The past week in Whistler has been an emotional roller coaster, she said.

With every possible lead comes raised hopes, which so far have been dashed each time.

Brian came to Whistler on Thursday July 11 on a tour organized by Bigfoot Adventure Tours of New Westminster.

That night he was playing volleyball and mentioned doing a hike on the Rainbow trail the following day.

An avid hiker, police believe Brian had a yellow daypack on his back when he left the Shoestring. He may have also had an ice axe with him.

The day he set out, July 12, was a beautiful, sunny summer’s day, said Faughnan, so he thinks there may have been others on the Rainbow hike who may have seen his brother, who may even have exchanged a few words with him.

"He’s not a loud guy but personable and liked to talk to people," he said.

He describes his youngest brother as almost 6-feet tall and 195 pounds. He is clean-shaven, wears glasses and has a friendly looking face.

He is also blind in the right eye and may have turned his face to look out of his left eye if he was talking to people.

He has scars on his left arm, which also has a little bone deformation.

Those injuries were a result of a previous rock-climbing accident in Quebec, more than two years ago, where he fell 20 metres.

Faughnan has ruled out ideas that his brother was suicidal or looking to disappear.

In his recent e-mails Brian was in good spirits and talked about his future plans.

Also, he left odd things behind at the Shoestring, including his passport, his sleeping bag and his day planner.

"We think he intended to be back that evening," said Faughnan.

Friday’s sunny weather turned to rain early Saturday morning but Faughnan said his brother is very experienced in the outdoors.

Brian took that love of the outdoors to his professional life as a video editor and scriptwriter.

He also has his master’s from McGill University in aerospace engineering.

Brian is the youngest of four Faughnan kids from Montreal.

His oldest brother John travelled from Minnesota to organize the private search. His brother Steven had to return to Toronto earlier this week.

His parents are elderly and not able to travel.

"Even finding the body would be something," said Faughnan, who is resigned that with each passing day the hopes of finding his brother alive are getting slimmer and slimmer.

For the time being Brian’s family and friends are pursuing every course of action that they can. And they wait for that key piece of information from somebody that will place Brian on a specific trail at a specific time.

Faughnan is asking anyone who was hiking on any Whistler trail on Friday, July 12 to get in touch or log on to www.faughnan.com.

If people were on certain trails and didn’t see Brian then the family can start to narrow down the area and begin to pinpoint his whereabouts on that day.

Although the search effort has concentrated in the Rainbow area, there is still not concrete information that puts Brian there on July 12.

Cooper said the local community has been wonderful in helping out with the search.

Slalom Photo gave them good deals on the posters. Nesters Market donated food and Java @ Nesters were very helpful, letting the searchers spend the morning in the coffee shop asking patrons for any information.

For further information Faughnan would like people to check out www.faughnan.com

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