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Mountain biker’s helmet ‘shattered’ in West Van trail crash: North Shore Rescue

Also on weekend, DNV Fire and Rescue respond to injured hiker on Grouse Grind

This story has been amended since first posting to modify the location of the trail.

Sometimes the fastest way out is straight up.

North Shore Rescue was called in to assist local fire departments with two rescues of injured folks on North Shore mountainsides on the weekend.

Early Saturday afternoon, they were called by West Vancouver Fire and Rescue after a mountain biker went over the handlebars on the Fifth Horseman, a double-black diamond downhill track in the Cypress trail system. At the time, they had every reason to believe the 22-year-old North Vancouver man had a serious head injury.

“He had actually destroyed his helmet – like shattered,” said Mike Danks, North Shore Rescue team leader. “Based on the injury, we had a helicopter up right away. Essentially, we were able to get a crew in there very quickly.”

When they arrived, the team found the patient was being well cared for by friends, many of whom had first-aid training. They kept his spine stable and covered him in spare jackets to keep him warm. Once he was safely in a stretcher, they helped the rescue volunteers get the man to a safe extraction point so he could be long-lined to a waiting ambulance.

“Obviously, these guys were dialed in,” Danks said. “Having people on site that were able to provide that primary immediate care was huge for him.”

Danks said, it appears the helmet worked as intended and the man’s injuries were more minor than they first feared.

“A lot of people were quite surprised, to be honest,” he said. “That was a win.”

Once the patient was safely out of the woods, North Shore Rescue members did him a solid and carried his bike out.

On Sunday afternoon, the team was back out, this time on the front side of Grouse Mountain after a woman fell at the halfway point of the Grouse Grind. Danks said the woman was already in frail condition and she sustained leg and hip injuries bad enough that it would have been impossible get out on her own.

Typically, District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services members deal with injuries on the Grind, but with sunset approaching and an injured patient, DNV Fire alerted NSR, Danks said.

“Based on the time of day, and how long it would take them to get in there, they opted to give us a heads-up,” Danks said. “They were worried about a complex extraction down the Grind in darkness, so again – these guys are really thinking ahead on these calls.”

By the time NSR volunteers arrived, district crews had the woman packaged and ready to go, which was good since light was already fading, Danks said.

Although winter conditions haven’t quite set in in the front country, Danks said, shoulder season presents its own safety issues.

“Having extra layers, having GoreTex, wearing the proper footwear and being ready for the sunset happening earlier now, these are all key things for this time of year,” he said.

This story has been amended to change the name of the mountain where the crash occurred. Previously, it said Hollyburn.

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