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Helicopter rescue saves hiker in Golden Ears park

Maple Ridge search team assists man stuck on a steep slope

The Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue team airlifted a hiker from the Golden Ears mountains to safety on Wednesday evening.

At approximately 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 17, RMSAR received a call for a stranded hiker in Evan’s Valley in the Golden Ears Provincial Park. The solo hiker was attempting to climb Blanshard Peak through Flys Gully. However, the man missed the turn for Flys Gully and proceeded up a different route past the well known snow caves, and eventually came to a place where he was simply stuck on a steep incline.

The climber could not continue his ascent, but had arrived at a place where attempting to climb down would risk a fall. Effectively trapped, he did the right thing, according to Search and Rescue, deciding to stay put and call for help.

Coquitlam SAR heli-rescue team members and Talon Helicopters were called to assist with a longline rescue – where the subject is suspended from a cable as they are lifted to safely. A search team member in a harness is also on the line to assist the subject. The rescue teams had lifted the stranded hiker back to safety by 8 p.m.

READ ALSO: RCMP converge on Maple Ridge property to investigate possible drug lab

A RMSAR spokesperson said the incident is a reminder to hikers and climbers to research and study any route they plan to attempt, and carry navigation tools as part of their 10 essentials.

Locating the subject was still extremely difficult, and could have become a lengthy overnight ground search. Search and rescue spokesperson Rick Laing said signaling devices like a regular flashlight are essential gear, as hikers can be nearly invisible in the shadows of a mountainside.

“People don’t realize how small they are to a pilot in the air,” said Laing.

Hikers should also be prepared to spend the night in an emergency where an immediate rescue is not possible, he addeed.

RMSAR also assisted in the helicopter rescue of a hiker in the Golden Ears Mountains last Thursday, although in that instance, the helicopter was able to find a landing spot for her to enter the aircraft.

READ ALSO: Maple Ridge search team rescues hiker from Golden Ears Mountains

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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