With the temperature above 30 degrees Celsius, a pair of thirsty hikers were out of water and starting to feel ill atop the summit of Bald Mountain on Tuesday, Aug. 3 when the duo made the call to the Lake Cowichan RCMP for help.
While the RCMP air services helicopter quickly spotted the hikers, there wasn’t a good spot to land so the Mounties utilized teams from both Cowichan and North Shore Search and Rescue.
“These hikers were very fortunate that the RCMP had air resources in the area that could quickly locate them, and gave their location to the crews looking for them,” said Lake Cowichan RCMP Cpl David Motely. “Due to the health concerns of the hikers, a helicopter was contacted from North Shore Search and Rescue, who dropped lines and a rescue basket down to one of the stranded hikers, and safely removed them from the location. The other hiker was transported out of the area by ground search and rescue by using a Utility Terrain Vehicle.”
Both hikers were taken to the hospital for assessments.
“The Lake Cowichan RCMP want to remind those persons hiking in the forested areas to be prepared for the elements, and to pack plenty of water and supplies,” Motley said. “Also, it’s alright to call for help, the sooner the better. Rescue crews want you to reach out as soon as possible if you need assistance, sometimes every second counts.”
“Reports of extreme dehydration prompted us to request North Shore Rescue’s long line capability who responded quickly,” said a social media post from Cowichan SAR. “A reminder to take extra precautions in these temperatures. Hydrate well in advance of going trekking as well a having extra water/electrolytes with you”.
Cowichan SAR president and search manager Jamie Tudway-Cains later echoed the post.
“It’s really just being prepared, even on a short hike that could last three or four hours,” he said. “If it’s 30 degrees out take water. You can never take enough.”
Tudway-Cains said his group got the call around 1 p.m. and were mobilized by 1:30 p.m.
“We knew where they were, it was just a matter of getting in to them,” he noted.
“It was pretty straightforward but whenever there’s a potential loss of life we try to bring in a helicopter if we can.”
While there is a search and rescue helicopter in Campbell River, “It’s really hard to get a helicopter right now due to all of the forest fires,” Tudway-Cains noted. “We knew North Shore had a helicopter available.”
He noted all the search and rescue groups in B.C. have a solid working relationship.
SAR had both hikers extracted by 3:30 p.m. and the mission wrapped by 5:30 p.m.