Skip to content

SAR rescues two injured climbers over the weekend

Only two calls made as crowds came to enjoy the first bout of true summer weather this year.

Despite the droves of people that came to town to play, Squamish Search and Rescue fielded only two calls this past weekend.

On June 28, rescue manager B.J. Chute said those two calls involved climbers with lower leg injuries.

The first, which occurred on Friday, involved a fallen athlete at Murrin Park's Petrifying Wall area.

The climber hurt her ankle and could not walk out on her own, so paramedics, firefighters and SAR members carried her out on a stretcher.

The second call came on Saturday evening, when a climber fell on the Ultimate Everything route of the Stawamus Chief. Because of the fading light, rescuers counselled the climber and their partner to stay on the ledge of that route overnight. A technical rope rescue from the top of the Chief at that time would have been impractical because of its complexity.

"So we did talk to them. They were well prepared. And they had enough provisions to spend the night on the ledge," said Chute.

Then, first thing in the morning on Sunday, rescuers arrived with a helicopter and longlined the injured athlete out.

"We flew in with a longline the next morning and extracted the injured party and her climbing partner. And she was also handed off to BC Ambulance paramedics to go to the hospital."

The call volume was relatively small, considering this past weekend was the first taste of proper summer weather this year. Many people flocked to town to enjoy the bluebird days when temperatures hit the 30s.

River watch

Prior to the weekend, local search and rescue crews were girding themselves for the start of the summer high season.

Chute said people should continue to stay between three to five metres (10 to 15 feet) away from swiftwater areas such as rivers.

The snowmelt will be causing freshet levels to rise, making the currents unpredictable. Casual whitewater enthusiasts should not be going into the waters; only professionals should venture into the rivers.

Some recent calls include an incident on June 16, when a person fell on the Stawamus Chief hiking trail.

"[The person] had some sort of medical condition that caused them to have some sort of quasi-collapse and blackout period," said Chute.

During that episode, the person struck their head. The crews walked that person to safety.

On June 8, there was a call for lost hikers at Murrin Park.

"The two hikers had gone for what they thought was going to be an hour-long after-dinner hike and ended up getting off trail from the viewpoint," Chute said.

They wound up in the Rainbows and Unicorns area, and rescue crews, along with RCMP, brought them food and water and guided them out.

Chute noted that there has been a decrease in lost hiker calls since trail builders implemented new renovations and signage in the Murrin Loop.

On June 7, there was a climber who fell and injured their knee in the bouldering area around the Stawamus Chief.

There was also a hectic day a few weeks ago. Three calls occurred on the same day.

One involved a hiker who fell down a cliff after wandering off-trail on the connector between Shannon Falls and the Sea to Sky Gondola. A rope rescue was required to get that person to safety.

At the same time, a call for a leg fracture came in from Wrinkle Rock on the Sea to Summit Trail. That person had to be flown out.

Finally, there were also lost hikers on the Evac Trail, and some crew members working on the Wrinkle Rock call went to lead those hikers back on the trail.

As of June 28, there have been 48 callouts to Squamish Search and Rescue.

Last year, around this time, that number was in the high 50s. Rescuers are expecting a similar call volume this year.

Find more AdventureSmart trail videos on the organization's site.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks