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North Shore Rescue advises caution when hiking during a heat wave

‘Be realistic about your level of activity’
Heat exhaustion rescue North Shore Rescue
North Shore Rescue is transported via Talon helicopter en route to Crown Pass for reports of a hiker suffering from heat exhaustion on June 22, 2021.
With temperatures expected to soar in the coming days, North Shore Rescue is urging cooler heads to prevail when it comes to outdoor recreating and hiking.

The volunteer search and rescue unit is asking people to be realistic about the kinds of sun-soaked activities they get up to this weekend – and all summer – after being called out to Crown Mountain in West Vancouver Tuesday (June 22) evening for reports that a 48-year-old man was unable to continue his hike due to heat exhaustion.

“He was feeling sick, exhausted and vomiting. He believed he was suffering from heat exhaustion or dehydration,” said Stan Sovdat, NSR search manager.

After first responding to a call to assist Lions Bay Search and Rescue in helping extract two young women stuck below a gully on Mount Hanover, NSR was contacted soon after by police at 8:30 p.m. after receiving a distressed call from the sun-stroked man, who said he couldn’t make it a step further on the challenging route between Crown Pass and Goat Mountain.

“He didn’t have the strength to continue walking up the snow slope,” said Sovdat.

NSR’s Talon helicopter, which had been dispatched earlier for the evening’s previous rescue and was en route back to the airport, returned to pick up the already deployed crew, while another rescue crew proceeded to the subject’s location by foot.

When they reached him, he was distressed but otherwise in stable condition, according to Sovdat.

The man didn’t have the energy to reach the nearby Goat Ridge helipad and with light fading, NSR decided to hoist the subject into the helicopter before dark.

He was flown to the Cap Gate SAR station and treated with fluids and electrolytes, at which point North Vancouver RCMP were able to transport him back to his vehicle at Lynn Headwaters.

Although the man was described as an experienced hiker who came well prepared for Crown Pass’s steep slopes, he was no match for the hot weather, which eventually got the better of him.

“The strenuous exercise and the heat, we believe, caused the heat exhaustion and dehydration,” said Sovdat. “Especially this time of year, it’s very common.”

Environment Canada is predicting a high of 30 C this Sunday, with temperatures inland expected to reach as much as 36 C.

In addition to the usual essentials all hikers should have in their possession – including a headlamp and extra clothes – Sovdat emphasized sun smart protection when getting out and about this time of year, which means bringing a hat, plenty of water, electrolytes and even wearing a long-sleeve shirt.

“If you think you need one litre, chances are you need to double that if not triple that amount of fluid,” said Sovdat. “And of course, be realistic about your level of activity in the heat.”

NSR isn’t the only organization getting the word out when it comes to playing safe during the hotter months, with everyone from West Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services expressing the need for fire safety vigilance to the BC SPCA advising pet owners to reconsider leaving their pet in a parked car, even if it’s just for a minute.

Environment Canada issued a weather alert earlier this week after the heat wave pushed seasonal temperatures way above average.