01 Feb The Mount Robson Disappearances
In the summer of 2006, two groups of tourists took to the (now closed) hiking trail up Mount Robson in British Columbia. What resulted was one of the strangest cases of missing persons in the province’s history. As the son of one of the hikers who went up that day, I’ve naturally wanted to find out exactly what happened. Long after the investigation closed, I continued to search for answers. This is what I discovered based on eye-witness testimony, police records, and meteorological data.
The day started off a little chilly for that time of year, but not chilly enough to be considered dangerous. The tour guides separated the hikers into two groups: group A, the fast group, and group B, the “leisurely” group, which was a diplomatic way of saying they were slow. My mother, an avid hiker, was put into group A. There was supposedly a running gag between the guides that whoever reached the summit last had to wear these embarrassing neon green socks on their next excursion, but to make things fair, would get to lead the faster group next time. At least, that’s how they explained the very unfashionable socks worn by the leader of group A that day. Both groups were estimated to reach the summit by noon, with group A scheduled to arrive about an hour ahead of group B. Each group had two walkie talkies for safety reasons. The hike itself was supposed to be fairly safe, taking the scenic route on multiple occasions to avoid potential danger spots. There was only one way up and only one way down.
Group A quickly took to the trail while group B lagged behind. They made it about two thirds of the way up when my mother slipped on a mossy rock and sprained her ankle. One of the guides got on the walkie talkie and contacted group B, who was carrying the first aid kit. At that point, group B was little under half an hour behind. Not wanting to ruin their reputation of being the fastest, group A insisted on going on ahead without my mom. They left her by the trail with one of the guides and their extra walkie talkie, then resumed their hike.
The temperature was getting much more comfortable by that point, so the guide and my mom didn’t have to take any special measures to stay warm while they waited for group B to catch up. For the next half hour, everyone stayed in contact using their respective walkie talkies. Everything seemed fine.
Group B eventually caught up to my mom. As they were tending to her ankle, they called ahead to group A to check on their progress. At that point in time, they had almost reached the summit. Now, once she was patched up, my mom could have chosen to turn around and gone back down the mountain with her guide, but she chose to keep going with the slower group. I guess she really wanted to see the summit.
This is where things get weird.
At approximately 10:55 am, a sudden increase in temperature and atmospheric pressure was reported. Based on meteorological data, there was a spike of approximately fifteen degrees Celsius that dissipated by the time the devices conducted their next check. This is just an educated guess, but that means it lasted somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes. Now, to be fair, Environment Canada’s meteorological services deemed this spike to be a glitch, but many people in the surrounding area did in fact report feeling a sudden, but temporary, wave of heat at around the same time.
What followed was a low atmospheric rumble that sounded similar to thunder in that it seemed to reverberate through the sky, but with a softer, less fluctuating tone. There were no storm clouds at the time and no planes were reported in the area.
Despite this, group B continued their trek up the mountain, with my mom in tow. When they reached the summit, they found themselves alone. They could see group A’s tracks all the way up to the summit, but they ended there. No tracks going down, no signs of going over the edge, no sign of them anywhere. The guides tried contacting group A on the walkie talkie, but never received a response. It was assumed their walkie talkie had run out of batteries, and since my mother and the guide had been left with their only spare, they hadn’t been able to reply. Investigators assumed they’d gotten lost in the woods and never made it to the summit at all—that the tracks found were all from group B.
What ever the case, 15 hikers went missing that day and were never found.
I often ask my mom to tell me her side of the story — to clue me in on any detail I might have missed or things that hadn’t been reported, but she refuses to talk about it. She’ll either change the subject or stare off blankly into space until I shut up, which is really abnormal for my mom. There’s only one other thing that’s ever solicited that kind of response out of her: the feet.
In 2007, feet – mostly left feet – started washing up on the shores of British Columbia. No one knows where they’re from or who they belong to, but they’ve been periodically showing up. Severed feet, still wearing their running shoes. Go ahead and look it up if you want to, it’s one of those really bizarre unsolved mysteries you rarely hear about. When my mom hears about them, she goes quiet as the grave.
You wouldn’t think those feet would be related to this story in any way. Mount Robson is on the East side of British Columbia, far inland, bordering Alberta. You wouldn’t think there’d be any connection…but you also wouldn’t think that many people wear high-end hiking boots with bright neon green socks, like the one that washed up on shore last week.