Nine members of the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) will be among 15 people taking part in a climb to the summit of Mt. Baker next month in tribute to slain officer Const. John Davidson.
The climb is scheduled for July 21 and 22, and also includes Davidson’s three grown children – Fay, Dina and Drew – as well as members of Central Valley Search and Rescue (CVSR), Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service and RCMP.
APD Chief Mike Serr said planning for the climb began a few months ago, when Const. Jason Baskin approached him with the idea.
Baskin said that before Davidson was fatally shot in the line of duty on Nov. 6, 2017, there was a group of APD members that had talked about climbing Mt. Baker. Davidson had told Baskin that it was on his “bucket list.”
After his friend’s death, Baskin decided he still wanted to do the hike and came to Serr with the idea of doing it in Davidson’s memory.
“It is a way for us to remember John in a way that he would want to be remembered,” Baskin said.
“A climb really brings people together and requires a lot of support from the team members on each other, which is what our city did in the weeks and months after John’s death.”
Serr was immediately on board, and others soon joined in, including Davidson’s children.
The chief said all the participants are already in good physical condition – several are avid hikers – but training began a couple of weeks ago on climbing techniques such as using ropes and crampons, and how to safely traverse a glacier.
The crew plans to spend the first day of their climb getting to the base camp, where they will do some more training and then rest up before rising at about 2 a.m. for the second day.
They hope to reach the summit – 10,788 feet – by late morning. There, Serr said they will find a “respectful place” to lay down one of the coins that was created in Davidson’s memory.
Serr said this, no doubt, will be an emotional moment for all those involved, and they will each likely have their own way of remembering and honouring Davidson.
Serr will also have another person heavily on his mind – his son Aiden, who died in a car crash at the age of 19 exactly one week after Davidson’s death.
The two were avid hikers and had planned to climb Mt. Baker on two separate occasions – both cancelled due to weather – before Aiden died.
“This will be a bit of closure for me … I’ll have a private moment for myself,” Serr said of completing the climb that he and his son never got to do together.
Also among those participating in the climb is Davidson’s former policing partner, Const. Renae Williams, who gave an emotional tribute to him at his funeral.
The APD will be providing updates about the climb on their social media platforms.
Other APD staff taking part include: Sarah Waterhouse, Sgt. Kevin Murray, Sgt. Maitland Smith, and Consts. Jenny Texeira, Marie Page and Neil Cole.
Joining them will be firefighter Juan Pablo Mora Peara, Shaun Glass of CVSR, and Supt. Murray Powers, commander with the Langley RCMP.
Valhalla Pure Outfitters has partnered with the group to provide the equipment they need for the challenging trek.