The family of missing movie star Julian Sands says he was doing what he loved most when he disappeared – since they released the last known images of him doing mountaineering.
With the British actor’s search in the California mountains entering its sixth day, moving photos he sent to his grandson show him relaxed and happy as he climbed high above the clouds.
Sands, who starred in more than 150 movies and television series, including A room with a viewhe sent the photos of himself climbing Weisshorn Mountain in the Swiss Alps to his grandson last September.
A relative told him the independent:: “This is how he would love to be seen, doing what he loved most: a heroic mountaineer, and excited to send a photo of him looking so happy to share with his beloved grandson, Billy.”
And a friend described him as “a Byronesque romantic and adventurer drawn to the extremes of nature, enjoying the freedom of the mountains.”
Mr. Sands was climbing a section of the 14,783-foot Weisshorn when the colorful photos were taken.
The images, which Julian sent to Billy in September and have been given exclusively to the independentIt shows the father of three wearing climbing gear including ropes, wearing a helmet, and with a backpack strapped securely to his back.
In one photograph, he is holding a water bottle and turning to smile at the camera while sitting on a peak.
An enthusiastic and experienced hiker, this 65-year-old man once described his happiest moment as “near the top of a mountain on a glorious cold morning.”
The Weisshorn, a three-ridged pyramid-shaped mountain about 15 miles from the Matterhorn, is described by climbing experts as “more serious” than its famous neighbor.
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“One of the more difficult 4,000m peaks, the Weisshorn is a serious long climb on any route,” according to Alpine Guides.
His wife, the writer Evgenia Citkowitzreported him missing last Friday while in the San Gabriel Mountains in the United States, and a close friend told him the independent that her family was frantic with worry.
A huge search operation was launched for Mr. Sands, and on Friday the teams found a car believed to belong to him, which they took in tow.
Henry Sands, son of Julian and father of Billy, joined the search in the California mountains along with an experienced hiker. The West Yorkshire-born actor, who lives in North Hollywood, played journalist Jon Swain in the fields of deathand is also known for starring in the romance Merchant Ivory A room with a view.
a friend told him the independent:: “Julian is wild and is never contained by rules or limits. He is a Byronesque romantic and adventurer who is drawn to the extremes of nature, enjoying the freedom of the mountains he conquers around the world.
“He is deeply inspired by the romantic poets and his interpretations of their works are fascinating and stem from a passionate love of literature.
“He is a friend bound by the Homeric qualities of loyalty and living life to the fullest.
“He takes no prisoners, and yet he is as kind, generous and sensitive as the poets he so admired.
“His total and utter adoration is always for his wife, the novelist and screenwriter Evgenia Citkowitz, with whom he has two daughters.
“And his son Henry with his first wife, the journalist Sarah Sands, is very close to him and joined the search for him in the mountains of California where he disappeared.
“Her roles are often quirky and original, as she stepped away from the Merchant Ivory morning idol roles in which she has established herself as one of Britain’s greatest stars.”
When he went missing, the actor was thought to be somewhere on the popular Baldy Bowl Trail, which climbs 3,900 feet over 4.5 miles to the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains.
Search and rescue teams will suspend the search over the weekend due to the threat of an avalanche, a department spokesman said, and authorities continue to use drones.
In recent years, several experienced hikers have died due to Mount Baldy’s icy terrain. It is considered one of the most dangerous peaks to climb in the US.
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