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North Shore Rescue plucks stranded hiker off west Lion

A 30-year-old man spent the night on narrow ledge waiting for a helicopter rescue

North Shore Rescue teamed up with Lions Bay Search and Rescue to pluck two hikers off treacherous terrain near the west Lion peak, north of West Vancouver, this weekend.

Early Sunday morning, North Shore Rescue was called out to assist Lions Bay SAR with the rescue of a hiker who had gone off route and become stuck on a ledge on the west Lion.

The 30-year-old man had been hiking with a group, with a plan of camping for the night in an area beyond the west Lion. But the hiker somehow got separated from his group and ended up heading up the peak instead of around it, said John Blown of North Shore Rescue.

By 8 p.m., the hiker had become stuck on a ledge and “made the right decision to stop and call 911,” said Blown.

A team from Lions Bay Search and Rescue hiked in on foot and located the hiker around 2 a.m., but decided to wait until daylight to bring him out by helicopter. (Talon’s helicopter normally used for night rescues is currently in use fighting wildfires.)

Blown said the hiker did have overnight gear, including a sleeping bag, but “there wasn’t very much room on the ledge.”

A longline team from North Shore Rescue flew in with Talon Helicopters around 6 a.m. and plucked the hiker off the ledge in a harness, returning him to Lions Bay school field.

This photo shows where the hiker was stranded on the west Lion. NSR

Later on Sunday, the rescue teams received another call about another hiker overdue from a hike in the same area.

In this case, the man in his 50s had been dropped off at the trailhead near Sunset Marina north of Horseshoe Bay. “His wife was supposed to pick him up at Cypress” in the afternoon, said North Shore Rescue search manager Scott Merriman. “He never showed up.”

Luckily, the hiker was also a ham radio operator who had his radio with him, enabling searchers to make contact from a Talon helicopter. “We were able to determine his location based on that,” said Merriman.

The hiker was eventually pinpointed on a rough and infrequently travelled section of the Erin Moore trail, where he had become dehydrated.

Lions Bay Search and Rescue teams were able to hike in and get the hiker in the early hours of Monday morning.

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