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Be prepared for changeable weather: Squamish SAR

The season has had a slow start but the local Search and Rescue team are ready jump into action.
Snowshoeing in the Garibaldi Park in spring 2024.

Like it or not, summer’s on the way, and the Squamish Search and Rescue team are ready for the change in season—and encourage everyone else to be too.

“It’s been a relatively quiet start to our spring, though I hate to use that word,” said Squamish SAR manager BJ Chute.

So far so good.

Chute said that the local team had bolstered numbers heading into spring which would help them respond more efficiently and faster in 2024.

“Our team has spent the winter doing our winter training,” he said.

“We’ve brought on a contingent of new members who are also at the point where they are ready to respond with our team, so that’s exciting for us as an organization. “

Chute said that while it was warming up, “it’s still winter in the mountains though it’s quite inviting with warm weather.”

“We would as always caution people to ensure they are prepared for whatever activity it is they are getting ready to pursue, and be prepared to the point of self-rescue,” he said, adding that everyone should have a backup plan for the outdoors, “and that backup plan is not Search and Rescue; Search and Rescue should be the final plan.”

Chute encouraged recreators to be diligent about doing their research about conditions given that there was a lot of motivation to get out this time of year.

“It’s important people understand where they’re going, and the conditions they’re going to, to help them prepare.”

While it isn’t quite summer, the melting snow of spring presents a raft of dangers.

“Right now just looking at the rivers, it's important for people to stay away from fast-moving waters. Although it is hot and sunny out and it may be tempting to go into the water, people should know what they’re doing and where it’s safe. We have seen a couple of accidents around moving water so far this year, and with this recent hot weather and the snowmelt, the waters are moving even faster.”

Another seasonal factor to think about was the temperature changes the area is experiencing. 

“We see a pretty big fluctuation in temperature. So someone who heads out first thing in the morning is going to go out when it's 4 or 5 degrees and work their way into 20 degrees, but someone who heads out later in the day in shorts and t-shirt for a sunny day will quickly find themselves in a dropping temperature after dinner, so having that extra layer is quite important this time of year.”

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