Never a dull weekend for first responders in Squamish, it seems.
Squamish Search and Rescue had a particularly busy weekend July 4 and 5, coming to the aid of a fallen climber on the Tantalus Range and an injured mountain biker at the Smoke Bluffs, among other things.
Rescue manager BJ Chute told The Chief that there were seven calls over the weekend. Search and rescue ended up responding to five of them.
“I think we do see the rising calls on the weekends — it’s not unusual for Squamish SAR — but, certainly, this was a very busy weekend for our team of volunteers,” he said.
While there have been complaints from locals saying people from south of the border are coming to town, Chute said that to his knowledge, all rescues so far have been for B.C. residents.
On Saturday (July 4) afternoon, a mountain biker had a serious wrist fracture after taking a fall on the Mountain of Phlegm trail in the Smoke Bluffs.
Three Search & Rescue calls in our area today...please map your location through map guides, many of us use @trailforks and know your risks when in the backcountry, it can be ever so beautiful but scary at the same time ⛰ 🥾 🧗🏼♀️ pic.twitter.com/a4RswwfvIL— Squamish RCMP (@SquamishRCMP) July 5, 2020
A ground team was sent in to help her and stablize her wrist.
“She was assessed and treated in the field,” said Chute. “We managed to splint her and walk her back up to the helicopter and fly her to meet BC Ambulance for further assessment and treatment and transport to Squamish Hospital.”
Soon after, there was more to do.
Two hikers from the Vancouver area were lost in Murrin Park and wound up by the railway tracks. As rescue crews were speaking to them, a nearby local managed to lead them out to Britannia.
Around that time, there was a serious climbing accident on Mount. Dione in the Tantalus Range.
Chute said a climber took a fall and sustained serious injuries.
Air crews spotted the climbing party and managed to lower them equipment that would allow them to camp for the night.
The climbing party spent the night, and on Sunday morning, rescuers were able to lift them out using a helicopter with a winch, which is a new addition to Squamish Search and Rescue.
Previously, rescuers generally used only longlines, which don’t allow people to be hoisted back up into the craft.
“It was actually an ideal call for that tool, so we were able to go in and winch rescue the injured party out, bring them back to Squamish airport where they were turned over to BC Ambulance air and ground crews, and she was flown to a Vancouver-area hospital for further treatment,” Chute said.
There weren’t any details on the extent of her injuries readily available, he said.
Rescuers went back and lifted out the remaining people in the part.
“Although we were able to extricate the injured party fairly quickly in the morning, the entire process took most of the day to get the rest of them out and the rest of our gear out,” Chute said.
Around 4 p.m. on Sunday, there was another call for a fallen person in the Wind Lake area, south of Sky Pilot Mountain.
While hiking back from a climb, a member of a climbing group fell through a snow bridge and fractured his wrist or lower arm. The climbers were able to pull him out.
Rescue crews flew in and treated the injured member and brought him to an ambulance, which took him to Squamish hospital. Crews also flew the rest of the group back.
“It was potentially a very serious accident, but [there] was a very fortunate result to it, so it was a relatively simple rescue,” Chute said.
Finally, that evening around 7 p.m., police told rescuers there were two missing children who may have fallen into the Mamquam River near the railroad bridge.
Rescue crews, along with RCMP and a number of neighbours, started to sweep the area.
Chute said it turned out the two kids had walked upstream and had ran into a bystander. They were reunited with their parents.
“It was a very happy ending to a very scary call,” he said.