A hiker was airlifted to hospital Tuesday afternoon with serious injuries after a fall along a trail in Golden Ears Provincial Park.
The accident took place at about 5 p.m. along Evans Peak Trail, a couple of hundred metres from the summit. The call initially came in as a twisted ankle, explained Rick Laing, with Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue (SAR).
However, based on the location of the injured hiker, Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue, who initially responded to the scene, deferred to Ridge Meadows SAR. They activated Talon Helicopters, and with the help of Coquitlam SAR and a team paramedic, initiated a longline rescue. Ridge Meadows SAR members Bryan Moffatt, longline team lead, and Colin Saurette, were at the end of the rescue line.
A second helicopter, an air ambulance, was called to the scene when it was learned the hiker’s injuries were serious. Rescuers were concerned there was some serious trauma, said Laing.
Brent Boulet with Ridge Meadows SAR said the trail where the hiker fell was quite steep.
In that same area, noted Boulet, there’s a section with a rope anchored to a tree because it’s quite steep and slippery.
Boulet assumes, because of the time of day, that the group of three was on their way back down from the summit. He said they were fairly prepared for the terrain they were in.
“When people are down climbing through steep terrain you tend to have the falls, because it’s more difficult to climb down steep terrain,” he said – even for experienced hikers.
Laing estimates the hiker fell about 10 metres.
“I don’t think it was a vertical fall of 10 metres, given where he was. I think it was more of a tumble of 10 metres down a steep slope,” said Laing.
While the injured hiker was stabilized and prepared to be airlifted, the other two hikers from the group were lifted out to safety.
Shortly after, Boulet added, the injured hiker was evacuated to a waiting team of paramedics and taken by air ambulance to Royal Columbian Hospital.
The rescue, that involved about a dozen members of the Ridge Meadows SAR team, wrapped up at about 9 p.m. when all the gear was put away.
“This is the second known hiker to take a bad fall in the exact same location this month,” said Boulet in an online post.
“Luckily the last hiker was able to walk out without the assistance of SAR,” he said, warning others to take extra caution when hiking in steep terrain, to have proper footwear, and to always carry the 10 essentials including: a flashlight with spare batteries and bulb; a fire-making kit including waterproof matches or lighter and a fire starter or candle; a signalling device such as a whistler or mirror; extra food and water, at least one litre per person; extra clothing for protection against the rain, wind, water and a toque; navigation and communication aids, at least a map and a compass; a first aid kit and know how to use it; an emergency shelter such as an orange tarp or blanket; a pocket knife; and sun protection including glasses, sunscreen and a hat.
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