On Thursday evening, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue saved a lone hiker who was lost in the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park.
Search team spokesperson Rick Laing said the hiker, a middle-aged woman, had summitted on the Golden Ears Mountains, but got lost on her way back. She made a wrong turn down a gully, and become stranded in the Alouette Valley between Golden Ears and Edge Peak.
The hiker was fortunately able to get cell phone reception, which is unreliable in the park, and called 9-1-1. The RCMP’s Air 1 helicopter was in the area, and located and spoke to the hiker. However, they were unable to transport her off the mountain, said Laing.
The RMSAR rescue team was called in to safely evacuate the hiker, with the assistance of Talon Helicopters.
Laing noted there is no trail, and the route up Golden Ears is not always well defined. Hikers should pay close attention on the climb up, looking back to familiarize themselves with the way back. The route is marked in places with splashes of paint, but they can be missed.
“Coming off the summit, if you’re not paying attention, it’s very easy to lose the path,” he said.
In this case, the hiker made the right choice of stopping and calling for help when they realized they were lost.
The woman called at approximately 6 p.m., and was off the mountain at about 8:30 p.m.
Laing said hikers should ensure they have navigation aids, including a map and compass at a minimum, and know the route they are going to take. They should plan for the possibility of an emergency overnight stay, with extra food and water, an emergency blanket, fire making kit and flashlight.
“As soon as the sun goes down, it gets cold up there,” he said.
If not for the successful call for help, she would have faced a cold night on the mountain, he said.
Telling someone where you are going, and when you plan to return, is critical.
Laing refers hikers to the adventuresmart.ca website as a resource for planning activities in the back country.
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