A hiker was rescued off a North Vancouver peak in the middle of the night on Sunday (Nov. 26), after he separated from his group and slid down the side of the snowy mountain.
RCMP say the man had climbed Pump Peak, in Mount Seymour Provincial Park, with a hiking group who had met up for the first time that night. They watched the sunset at the top before heading the approximately 3.5 kilometres back down.
The man had a head start on the others, however, and when the group returned to the parking lot he was nowhere to be found.
North Shore Rescue says it was called in at about 7:15 p.m. Because the man didn’t have a cell phone, police were unable to ping it for his location, and because it was so foggy that night, rescuers couldn’t deploy a helicopter to help with the search. Instead, they were forced to search entirely by foot.
The search and rescue says it relied on “old school” methods. It deployed teams of rescuers to two drainages, where it believed the hiker was the most likely to have gone off trail, and instructed them to search for boot prints in the snow and call out for the man.
After some time, the team searching the eastern drainage heard a faint noise in response to their calls. Examining the trail in the area closely, members discovered a set of prints that appeared to veer off the beaten path. From there, the North Shore Rescue says, the boot prints led down extremely complex terrain and numerous cliff bands of at least five metres, where the man slid or fell.
The team searching the mountain’s western drainage joined the eastern team and together they navigated down the steep terrain, moving towards increasingly louder calls from the lost hiker. Using a thermal drone, they were able to better pinpoint the man’s location and move faster towards him.
Once with him, team members warmed him up, gave him food and water and addressed his injuries so they could hike him out. North Shore Rescue says they had the hiker to safety by 3:30 a.m.
Police say the man only suffered minor injuries.
North Shore Rescue says the incident is a reminder to hikers to always have a good light source in case they are stranded at night. It also reiterated advice for people to always plan out their trip and let others know where they are going, bring all the necessary gear and make sure they’re only undertaking hikes they have the skills for.