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Clog-clad hiker prompts heli-rescue from Chief

The nice weather is back and for the Squamish Emergency Program (SEP) that means it is time again to take unprepared and injured hikers off the local mountains.

The nice weather is back and for the Squamish Emergency Program (SEP) that means it is time again to take unprepared and injured hikers off the local mountains.

The most recent head-scratching rescue involved a man who hiked up the Stawamus Chief on Saturday (May 15) wearing clogs.

Brad Thompson, a SEP volunteer with search and rescue, said the 62-year-old was three quarters of the way up the south summit trail. The man was suffering from what was thought to be a broken leg.

"Probably one of the relating factors was that he was wearing clogs," Thompson said of the man's situation.

Thirteen search and rescue volunteers responded. A helicopter was used to move rescuers and equipment up the Chief. Thompson said it was determined that it was too dangerous to use the helicopter to transport the victim.

The search coordinator said a low angle belay was used to lower the man. The rescuers carried the victim in a stretcher to the base of the Chief. From the base of the mountain the man was taken to Squamish General Hospital for treatment.

Thompson said the team finished its work at 10:30 p.m.

The call to SEP was made at 5 p.m. Thompson said two calls for help actually came that night."The 911 calls came within minutes of each other," he said.

The second call wasn't as serious. A group of people who were lost on the Shannon Falls trail called for help because they were lost.

The group decided to keep looking for the trail and they eventually found their own way down and called to report they no longer needed help, Thompson said.

The rescue of the 62-year-old man was the first low angle belay of the year for SEP volunteers. Thompson added that search and rescue members have so far logged four or five calls this year to help people on the Chief.

An incident Sunday night would have been added to the list; however, some smart investigative work before a full callout was made prevented volunteers from being sent out for an unnecessary late-night search.

Sgt. Colin Worth of the Squamish RCMP told The Chief that a Vancouver man called to report that his daughter was overdue from a climbing and camping trip to Squamish. The RCMP notified SEP at 11:10 p.m. that three climbers were overdue.

"SAR didn't mobilize," Thompson said. Night searches are riskier than daytime rescues so Thompson said that based on his past experiences with calls like this one he decided to do a thorough ground search before sending out rescue crews.

The vehicle belonging to the trio was located at the Chief campground. The vehicle was loaded with camping equipment.

Thompson's decision to delay sending out searchers paid off when the group showed up at the vehicle and informed police that they decided to go out for drinks before returning to Vancouver.There was a miscommunication between the father and daughter over what time she was going to return to Vancouver.

"They were reprimanded," said Thompson.

Thompson said one of the search and rescue members lost his blue and yellow Gore-Tex jacket while helping the man with the clogs. The volunteer went back up the mountain to retrieve his SEP jacket and found that is was no longer by the stump where he left it the day before.

Anyone who knows the whereabouts of the distinctive jacket emblazoned with the search and rescue logo is asked to contact any local SEP member.

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