NORTH SHORE (NEWS 1130) – If you love to hit the local mountains as winter approaches, know what you’re doing and where you’re going.
Some hiking areas — especially in Lynn Headwaters — are closed.
“We really recommend that you check with the land owner, whether that’s a municipal owner within the City or District [of North Vancouver] or West Vancouver or if it’s more broadly up in B.C. Parks … Make sure that that area that you’re going into is still open for the season,” Mike Danks with North Shore Rescue said.
Danks says with the change in weather, there will be a rise in water levels. “Then, we’re also going to see snow conditions happening very soon, with the freezing levels dropping.”
He points to Lynn Headwaters, as an example of a large area where you can easily get off-trail and get into trouble. “We really ask people to respect those closures. They’re in place for a reason.”
Danks says there’s ice on trails, even at lower elevations.
“Very slippery. You need to have appropriate footwear for that. But as you get further into the backcountry, the water levels have risen substantially. The creek crossings that you need to do to continue on those routes are impassable at this time. You really run the risk, if you try to cross those creeks, of slipping and falling. You don’t want to end up in a creek that far back there.”
But despite their warnings, Danks says people defy closures and often find themselves in trouble.
“We see it every year. Unfortunately, sometimes with visitors to Vancouver, they’re just very naive to the dangers back there. We’ve had a number of fatalities and still have people who are missing in those areas.”
The sun also sets earlier this time of year, which has some people out in the backcountry later than they should be.
“We’ve had a number of calls where people have gone out for a hike in the afternoon and they haven’t brought a light source with them. They’ve run into darkness much sooner than they’d anticipated. We always recommend you bring a light source with you. Always let someone know where you’re going, what time you’re expected back, and when they should call for help.”
Meantime, ski season set to start soon and winter brings a new layer of complexity to North Shore Rescue’s workload.
“We’re dealing with avalanche conditions … Generally, when we have nice, snowy conditions, we have people that want to go out of bounds to get fresh powder and fresh lines. Typically, the areas they’re going into are in avalanche terrain. We really want to caution people against that.”
– With files from Alison Bailey