Photo from Ken McAlpine’s Facebook page. The young man was a cook at a Rossland restaurant. Facebook photo

Former Amazing Race star dies in Kootenay hiking accident

Kenneth McAlpine was on Season Five of The Amazing Race Canada

A hiker found dead on the slopes of Mount Gimli Tuesday is being remembered as a young man who lived life to the fullest.

Kenneth McAlpine’s father said his son “packed a ton into his 28 years.”

“Kenneth was an amazing man, strong in his faith,” said Malcolm McAlpine in a phone interview from Collingwood, Ont. “He loved the outdoors, he was an amazing cook, he was a chef in a restaurant. He lived his motto in life, which was ‘Give ‘er.’ And he did.

“He gave so much in so many ways. He was a star, an absolute star.”

McAlpine died on his birthday, on a hike on a difficult trail on Mount Gimli, in the mountainous Valhalla Provincial Park in the Slocan Valley.

McAlpine said Kenneth’s death is a “huge loss” for him and his wife, Kathy.

Kenneth McAlpine appeared as a member of Team GIVE ‘R in Season Five of The Amazing Race Canada. He and his travelling partner, Ryan Lachapelle, came in second in the race.

McAlpine moved to Rossland from Collingwood, and worked as a cook in a restaurant there.

Friends posted tributes to McAlpine on his Facebook page.

“Thank you for showing us how to live life to the fullest,” said one friend.

“You are such a beautiful soul and a brilliant light! We are just devastated to lose you, but so glad you touched so many people with your never-ending love and energy during your travels on this earth,” said another.

Difficult recovery

The search was ordered after McAlpine failed to return from a hike on Mount Gimli Monday evening.

An RCMP news release which did not name McAlpine, but described him as “an experienced hiker,” said he departed alone on a hike on Gimli Mountain west of Slocan Lake on Monday morning. He was supposed to return by 7 p.m. but never contacted his friends, who subsequently filed a missing person report with RCMP.

His body was found a few hours into the search.

Search and Rescue officials say McAlpine fell about 260 metres (820 feet) after failing to scale a difficult section of terrain on the mountain.

About 30 searchers and two helicopters discovered the man quickly, but it took several hours for long-line crews to recover his remains from the difficult terrain.

“He was going up the East Face, a popular trail that takes you up the ridge to the mountain,” said Mike Hudson, the head of South Columbia Search and Rescue after the search concluded. “But as you go up the trail it changes into a different class for experience. The section is a Class 3 or 4, and it requires you to do a scramble to go up.

“It’s very ledgey and narrow and steep, and that’s where we figured he was when he fell.”

Police say foul play is not suspected in his death, and the BC Coroners Service is also investigating.

“The RCMP would like to recognize the excellent efforts of the Kaslo Search and Rescue team for their determination and professionalism during this difficult recovery,” says acting Sgt. Brett Turner of the Kootenay Boundary regional detachment. “The investigation is ongoing and police are speaking to other hikers who were in the area at the time.”

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