Four hikers rescued at base of mountain in Golden Ears Provincial Park – Maple Ridge News

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Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue is asking people to stay away from the high backcountry after a group of experienced hikers were rescued from Golden Ears Provincial Park on Monday morning.

Search and Rescue received a call from Ridge Meadows RCMP at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Sunday January 30 to rescue the four hikers stranded at the base of Edge Peak.

The out-of-province students had climbed the mountain on Saturday.

Rick Laing, manager of the local search and rescue team, said the weather was fine at the time. The hikers, who he estimated to be in their twenties, planned to camp and had forecast eight inches of snow overnight. They were well prepared for it, he said.

However, around 20cm of snow fell overnight on Sunday and, Laing said, the temperature dropped to around -9C. Then one of the hikers triggered a small avalanche which made them fearful of continuing. It was then that they used their mobile phone to call for help.

“They were up high enough to have really good cell contact for the most part and when we couldn’t talk directly we could text and stay up to date,” Laing said, adding that the group also had extra batteries for their mobile phones.

“They seemed well prepared,” Laing said.

But, cloud cover had descended over the mountain before they could launch a helicopter. So they told the hikers to stay put and settle in for another night on the mountain and they would try to pick them up in the morning.

Overnight an additional 40 to 60 cm of snow fell on it, Laing said.

A team of two rescuers boarded the helicopter around 7:30 a.m. and they were able to get everyone off the mountain by 10:30 a.m., Laing said.

“Despite the weather and conditions, it was a relatively straightforward rescue,” Laing noted. “We took out two at a time.”

They flew to where the hikers were and dropped off the rescuers who stayed with two of the stranded hikers while the first two were evacuated from the mountain. Then the helicopter came back and flew the other two hikers off the mountain. Finally, the helicopter returned to seek the rescuers.

A total of 17 search and rescue team members participated in the mission.

“With all that snow and the temperature, they were very wet and cold in the tent this morning,” Laing said.

“It was pretty critical that we got them off the mountain today,” he said, adding that the hikers were in good condition when they reached safety, just very cold.

Laing said that given the weather conditions and the amount of snowfall overnight, the avalanche hazard went from moderate on Saturday to considerable and then extreme on Sunday.

“It’s new wet snow on a hard, crusty base, so it couldn’t bond. Thus, the chances of human triggering, or even an actual triggered avalanche, are considerable to extreme. So people really need to stay out of the high backcountry area.


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Golden Earsmaple Ridge Provincial ParkSearch and Rescue


Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue rescued four hikers from the base of Edge Peak in Golden Ears Provincial Park on Monday morning. (Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue/News Special)

Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue rescued four hikers from the base of Edge Peak in Golden Ears Provincial Park on Monday morning.  (Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue/News Special)

Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue rescued four hikers from the base of Edge Peak in Golden Ears Provincial Park on Monday morning. (Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue/News Special)

Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue rescued four hikers from the base of Edge Peak in Golden Ears Provincial Park on Monday morning.  (Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue/News Special)

Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue rescued four hikers from the base of Edge Peak in Golden Ears Provincial Park on Monday morning. (Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue/News Special)

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