Friends pay tribute to man who died while ice climbing in Canada

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Friends have paid tribute to a man from Scotland who died while ice climbing in Canada, describing him as an “immensely cheerful person” who would be missed.

Neil Mackenzie, 31, died along with two women after splitting from a larger group on Sunday on Mount Joffre, according to the British Columbia Coroners Service.

When the trio failed to return, the rest of their group went looking. The bodies of Mr Mackenzie, Elena Cernicka, 35, of North Vancouver, and Stephanie Grothe, 30, who was originally from Germany, were found below the peak after a search on Monday morning.

A statement from the coroner said the climbers had fallen more than 600 metres (2,000ft) down a passage on the mountain in the Pemberton area, north of Whistler.

The University of British Columbia’s Varsity Outdoor Club (VOC) said Mr Mackenzie, who lived in Vancouver but was from Scotland, was passionate about the mountains, and members released a statement today paying tribute to him.

It said: “With great sadness, the VOC mourns the tragic deaths of Stephanie Grothe, Neil Mackenzie and Elena Cernicka. Stephanie and Neil were very active members of the VOC. Elena was a friend of Neil’s, but not a member of the VOC.

“He was an immensely cheerful person, always looking for the next adventure and always good for sharing a drink and a good conversation with.

“He found adventure anywhere and brought humour with him everywhere he went. To us, he was the epitome of the proverbial Scottish hardman. He dedicated a lot of his time to instructional trips with the club, always providing encouraging words to struggling participants. We all will miss him a lot.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed there had been a British victim.

A spokesman said: “We can confirm the death of a British national in Canada. We are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time.”