North Shore Rescue was called out Saturday afternoon after three hikers got stuck in difficult terrain in an area near Mt. Strachan in West Vancouver.
Three women in their 30s and 40s were hiking in an area near to Christmas Gully, when they lost the trail and headed into a steep and slippery boulder field, said search manager Dave Barnett.
The hikers continued up, hoping they could still reach the summit, but eventually found themselves in an area so steep they couldn’t continue, said Barnett.
One of the hikers managed to make it up to an area where she could get cell service and called police for help shortly before 1 p.m.
North Shore Rescue sent in two teams with ropes. The first of those teams reached the three women around 4 p.m., said Barnett.
Rescuers roped the stranded hikers into harnesses and belayed them down to the trail by hand, where they were driven out to the parking lot on a Cypress Mountain Resort service road.
The three women were “reasonably prepared” for the hike, said Barnett.
“They had hiked in that general area before,” he said, but “they found themselves in an area that was way over their skill level.”
One important lesson to take from their experience, he said is that “when it’s obvious you’re lost and off the trail,” if it's safe, it’s best to retrace your steps back to the trail rather than pressing ahead into more treacherous areas.
He said it’s also important to remember that it’s getting colder earlier in the mountains now. “It’s also getting darker much sooner.”