Going out into the wilderness? Don’t forget the three T’s: Trip planning, training and taking the essentials. In media interviews and public forums, Mike Danks, team leader of North Shore Rescue, never forgets to repeat this advice for those seeking adventure in the outdoors. That message, unfortunately, gets ignored repeatedly. It was ignored yet again this past weekend when lost hikers called for help from Eagle Bluffs area of the Cyprus Mountain.
This was a young couple in their 20s, visitors to Vancouver, who took a bus from Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay with a plan to go on a hike in the Eagle Bluffs area. They hiked for three hours, and then called West Vancouver police saying they were lost. They were completely unprepared for the hike, Danks said. North Shore Rescue ended their 10-hour ordeal by sending a crew that drove them out in an off-road vehicle.
“They probably didn’t know where they were going, and they were not equipped for this hike. It is a really common thing. It is the accessibility of the North Shore mountains from the downtown core that brings hikers that are completely naive,” he says.
Danks knows this won’t be the last time he will tell this story, and yet he will repeat the message tirelessly.
Meanwhile, the bravehearts of North Shore Rescue have been busy rescuing people after a rather slow start to the summer. The past Canada Day long weekend was a busy one. Rescue teams extracted a hiker in Lions Bay who had fallen near the Lions hiking trail. Significant resources had to be pressed in service to rescue another hiker who had fallen unconscious near Norvan Falls. The North Shore Rescue team had to hike and then long-line him to a waiting helicopter that took him to Inter River Park and finally to the hospital.
The team members also helped two hikers who were lost on the Grouse Mountain. That same day, they got a call from a hiker in Lynn Peak, who called in to say he had repeatedly heard a whistle blast. The team members reached him and told him it was the sound made by a bird called Varied Thrush. To reassure the hiker, a team member played the sound on his phone.