Brothers ill-prepared for winter hike on Burke Mountain rescued by Coquitlam Search and Rescue | Spare News


Two freezing school-aged brothers had to be rescued by a Coquitlam search and rescue team over the weekend after an awkward hike up Burke Mountain turned freezing.

The young hikers were shown what “absolutely not” to do when caught in wintry conditions, according to Coquitlam SAR manager Ray Nordstrand.

“Hiking in the summer is not the same as hiking in the winter,” Nordstrand said. “If you’re not prepared, if you don’t have gear equipped for snow and winter, it’s probably best once you hit the snow to turn around and come back.”

The two brothers, ages 17 and 18, set off for a hike on Saturday to Dennett Lake, more than 3,000 feet above sea level.

Nordstrand said once the brothers hit the snow, they continued the hike even though they didn’t have winter-appropriate shoes or clothing.

Their pace slowed, cutting through waist-deep snow in some places, dragging snow into their boots and freezing their feet.

Nordstrand said they walked just past Hourglass Lake, about 1,200 feet above sea level, before deciding to turn back.

On the descent their feet had become so cold that they had to stop and break. Shortly after, they decided they couldn’t continue and dialed 9-11.

Coquitlam SAR received the call at 3:45 p.m., but the 16-member team could not reach the brothers until just before 9 p.m.

They were found huddled together and shivering, having removed their jackets, boots and socks in an attempt to warm their feet in their clothing.

“When we got to them they were wet and shaking without their boots on,” Nordstrand said. “Taking clothes off when you’re cold and wet – that’s not a good thing to do.

“Our statement to them was to stamp your feet and keep going.”

SAR members provided them with food, new clothes, plastic covers to cover their fresh socks so they could put their boots back on.

They walked until they could reach an all-terrain SAR vehicle, which delivered them to their waiting parents at 11 p.m.

All aspects of their clothing could have been improved, Nordstrand said, adding that although they had an ax and fire-starting equipment, they were unable to start a fire.

He said the situation could have been worse, as there are certain areas of Burke Mountain with limited cell coverage, and finding them could have taken a lot longer.

One of the brothers said he made the four-hour round trip during the summer, but the other had no experience, according to Nordstrand.

“Having a little practice would have gone a long way,” he said. “A four-hour hike can be much longer in the winter.”

Neither brother needed hospital treatment, Nordstrand said.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.


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