A young hiker had a close call on Wednesday when he wandered off the Grouse Grind and became trapped for hours on the side of a cliff.
The 15-year-old had been trekking up the busy North Vancouver trail with his mother in the late afternoon when he got ahead of her and veered from the main route. The teen apparently headed east on Grouse Mountain's Bluff Trail before losing that track as well and wandering into a steep and slippery gully system.
"Basically, he zigged when he should have zagged," said Tim Jones, team leader with North Shore Rescue. "I'm not sure why he did what he did, but he definitely went off course. That's an understatement."
The teen eventually found himself on a cliff band above a dangerous drop off, where he discovered he couldn't go any further and couldn't get back.
Grouse Mountain patrollers, alerted to the victim's plight, set out to locate him. After a twohour search one of the team members found him above the gully, cold and in distress. When the pair tried to make their way back to the trail, they discovered the slippery, mossy terrain was too unsafe to climb. The patroller radioed for help.
Grouse contacted North Shore Rescue, who launched a full-scale operation. The volunteers, equipped with ropes and other supplies, reached the stranded pair at about 8: 30 p.m., changed the teen into warm clothing and led them back to safety.
The young man made the right choice to stay put when he got into trouble, said Jones. Had he tried to make his own way out, things could quickly have turned tragic. "This mountain area is extremely dangerous, especially in wet weather," he said. "This could easily have ended in a fatality, no doubt in my mind."