Saturday, May 17, 2014

Has The Squamish 'Sasquatch' Been Identified?

A White Rock man believes he may be the "Sasquatch" caught on a viral video filmed by wildlife biologist Myles Lamont while hiking Tricouni Peak in the Tantalus mountain range near Squamish, B.C. more than two years ago.

The video shows a black dot of a figure apparently moving up the slope of a snow-covered mountain in a remote area of the mountain range.

Lamont, who estimated his altitude at 7,000 feet, got thousands of YouTube hits after he posted the video and it went viral.

In the video Lamont wonders why a human would walk up the side of a mountain "in the middle of nowhere" without a backpack or gear.

Since he posted it last month, the video has had more than a million views. And even though it was shot more than two years ago, the wildlife biologist is still wondering today what it was he saw.

"What we saw was not wearing any gear and no snowshoes and covering ground very quickly," he said.

"I'm familiar with bears and other wildlife and seeing other backpacks in the bush and this was not quite like any of those, so it was a bit different."

Ridgewalker Pete hikes solo

Enter Peter Tennant, aka, 'Ridgewalker Pete.' The 56-year-old White Rock, B.C., resident believes his admittedly odd hobby of walking by himself across remote B.C. mountainsides put him in the crosshairs of Lamont's lens.

Tennant says he does a lot of solo hiking, shoots pictures and video of his walks, then sets them to music. Crucially, he says he was on Tricouni Peak in July 2011, the same month Lamont shot his video.

Tennant says he ran across the Sasquatch story on the CBC website and recognized the valley as the same one he'd been exploring that July.

"[Lamont] did this little pan [around in the video] and I started laughing because I recognized that valley," said Tennant.

"That's where I was walking all around. And then I looked more, and then I stopped and looked in my hiking notes, and I realized, Tricouni Mountain, 2011. I think that was me."

Mystery solved...or is it?

Tennant recalls he was doing little day hikes on his week-long walkabout on the mountain.

"There was a huge amount of snow left over from the winter that year and I was shocked," he said. "Even though it was summertime down in the valley, up high it sort of felt like winter."

"I was by myself and I wasn't really set up for avalanche stuff so I decided to just stay in the sort of higher elevation but not go up to the peak."

Tennant says he didn't have a backpack or snowshoes, but did have an emergency locator. "The snow had melted on the surface so I was just walking on top of the snow."

But Lamont's not buying it. He says to be that high up with no backpack or snowshoes is "bizarre."

'Ridgewalker Pete' says his hiking diary confirms he was on Tricouni Mountain the last week of July.

Mystery solved...until we asked Lamont, the wildlife biologist who shot the video, "When were you on Tricouni Peak?"

"We were there July 2," he said.

And that's at least three weeks before 'Ridgewalker Pete'.

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