Ice axe and crampons ‘a necessity,’ North Shore Rescue says

A lost hiker had to be airlifted out of the Grouse Mountain wilderness by North Shore Rescue late Monday afternoon.

A local man in his 40s was attempting the BCMC Trail but wandered off the path. He called 911 around 2:15 p.m. when he realized he was in dangerous terrain.

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The call dropped before North Shore Rescue members could pinpoint the lost hiker, so the response was somewhat delayed while volunteers narrowed down the search area.

Rescuers eventually spotted the man in a drainage area not far from the trail, but conditions were tricky and the team opted to use a helicopter long line to get everyone out safely.

“By the time the aircraft arrived, we had about an hour of light, which is pretty tight for us to get somebody out of the field,” said Mike Danks, North Shore Rescue team leader.

The subject was equipped for a cold weather hike but it still wasn’t enough for the conditions he was in, Danks added.

“He had his microspikes, which are good, but when you’re off trail, microspikes are pretty dodgy because they can easily rip off your feet,” he said. “When you get those clear, cool days, it has a tremendous impact on the snow. I think that really dictates the kind of footwear you should have and the safety equipment as well. An ice axe and crampons are a necessity. Those are something you should have in your backpack and understand how to travel in those as well.”

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