An unusually wet spring means the mountain trails may be a little more treacherous than usual, North Shore Rescue says.
A hiker learned that the hard way on the Baden Powell Trail, near the top of Eagle Bluffs, Sunday (June 5). Just before 1 p.m., a 34-year-old woman and her friend were climbing the trail’s steep boulder field near the top when she slipped.
“She had taken a 20-foot rolling fall over rocky terrain and had a significant head bleed and some type of neck injury,” said Paul Markey, North Shore Rescue search manager. “Head injuries are always potentially serious.”
The team conferred with West Vancouver Fire and Rescue and determined the quickest and safest option would be a helicopter hoist rescue by a crew including a NSR volunteer who is an ER doctor.
The subject’s friend was a big help in calling 911, applying pressure to the wound, keeping her warm and helping guide Talon’s helicopter pilots to the right location, Markey said.
The team quickly bandaged and packaged the woman before hoisting her and her friend to helicopter, and off to a waiting ambulance at the Capilano Gate search and rescue station.
“The whole North Shore community is fortunate to have that resource that we can actually provide in the field itself. It's almost like taking the ER to the mountainside,” Markey said. “I don't know whether any other volunteer rescue team in the country has actually got that type of resource available to work.”
The woman was well prepared and equipped for the hike but Markey said the amount of rain and cold weather we’ve had so far in 2022 means the trails are a bit more slippery than they would be otherwise.
“She did everything right, in fact. She just slipped and had an accident that could have happened to anybody,” he said. “You’d expect things to have dried up significantly by now but that's not the case. We've still got quite a bit of wet snow, wet mud and wet rocks and moss around.”
BC Adventure Smart, the province's trail safety and education agency, recently released a video tailored specifically to the safety risks of the Eagle Bluffs hike.