NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It may still technically be summer, but it certainly feels like fall as the weather begins to turn and with that comes a warning from a local search and rescue group.
North Shore Rescue, one of the busiest rescue organizations in the province, says it’s critical anyone going up the mountain take some extra precautions and if you insist on going, pack a light.
“We have people going out there who aren’t anticipating darkness coming so soon and also not recognizing that when you’re in the trees, you lose the light a lot quicker as well. I think it’s a great reminder for everyone. Always have a headlamp with you or a light source and just be very cognisant of when the sun is going to set,” explains NSR team leader Mike Danks.
You should also be taking warm clothes and ideally a satellite device, in case you lose cell service and need to call for help or update your family and friends on your whereabouts.
Danks also points out with our region entering a rainy season, it’s important people stay away from any creeks or rivers and he has a heads up if you’re taking your dog with you.
“Obviously, the creeks and rivers are going to flowing at a high rate. It’s quite often dogs will go into the creek and they can get swept away. So, just be very aware of it [and] aware of your surroundings.”
People have slipped on rocks is also something rescue crews see from time to time. “It’s all about footwear, having proper footwear for the hike you’re doing makes a big difference.”
Given the bad weather, it may not only be challenging for you to venture into the backcountry, but it can be as challenging for crews to find you.
“Especially if you keep moving in the darkness on an unfamiliar trail or if you are off-trail because the North Shore mountains get steep very, very quickly when you’re off the trails. It certainly makes it more challenging for us because, again, our vision is going to be limited with our lights and if you’re in bad weather and thick cloud then it’s even more obscured, if you will,” says Danks.
He says the deeper you plan on going into the backcountry, it’s also important to take more gear with you like food and water.
So far this year, North Shore Rescue has responded to 109 calls. Danks admits they are on track to potentially match the 2015 record of 139 calls.