Man who was supposed to join fatal weekend hike recalls 5 lost friends

Man who was supposed to join fatal weekend hike recalls 5 lost friends

Y.C. Kim was supposed to be on a Saturday hike that ended in the deaths of five of his friends near Lions Bay.

But at the last minute, he cancelled.

"I packed my bag, prepared my lunch, and then I looked outside, and it was pouring rain," he said. "I was exhausted. I decided not to go."

Hours later, another member of the hiking group called with the tragic news: their friends were missing.

"We were praying and hoping they could make it," he said.

On Sunday, the bodies of his five friends were found by rescuers.

"Everyone is in shock. Not just their families but the Korean community as well."

No one's fault 

Kim says the youngest of the hikers was 40-year-old Jay Choi.

He worked as a nanny while supporting his wife and six-year-old and 10-year-old children in Korea.

"He always missed his kids. He always said, 'I can't wait to take my kids … to the mountains in B.C.,'" Kim said.

The others who didn't survive the hike were Kay Chung, 66; Ruth Kim, 66; Yong Jun Sohn, 56 and Iris Cho, 50

They were all Korean immigrants who had lived in Canada for decades, he said.

All liked to go by their hiking nicknames, said Kim. 

The leader of the pack Kay Chung was "The Walking GPS" and Yong Jun Sohn was "Chinook."

Kim doesn't believe there was anything the hikers, who he considered experienced, did wrong on the summit.

"Anyone standing on the summit wouldn't have been able to figure out what they are standing on and what's underneath the surface," he said.

Kim is working on a fundraising campaign to pay for the funeral of his friend from Korea, whose family, he says, is not well-off — as well as to help the families of the other victims. 

Any money left over after funeral expenses will be donated to volunteer search and rescue teams.