NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As usual at this time of year, there are too many people hitting the backcountry unprepared. And as temperatures drop, North Shore Rescue is seeing a spike in calls as members expect to respond to a record number of rescues by the end of the year.
The all time record was 139, which was set a couple of years ago and currently NSR has responded to 135 calls and the month of December has only just started.
The team says it has also seen a steady increase in the number of rescues year over year. The norm used to be between 90 to 100 a year, now it’s closer to that 140 mark.
Team Leader Mike Danks says if you think it’s cold down here, it’s way worse up there. “Absolutely hypothermic and it’s dangerously hypothermic. You can be in the snow in the sun and it’s really warm and it’s nice but as soon as that sun goes down, the temperature drops drastically and then the terrain is like a skating rink.”
Danks points out even sitting and waiting for five, maybe 10 minutes, for crews to arrive could put you in that hypothermic area. It’s probably best to move around to stay warm, but don’t go too far that they can’t find you.
He says if you insist on hitting the trails, you have to dress for the elements. “Put your micro spikes on for sure and I know a lot of people wear runners, which they probably get away with most of the time, but this is a time that you want to have a proper boot. Layering your clothing is another good [tip] and making sure that you’re wearing synthetic clothes, rather than cotton which can get really wet quickly.”
The challenge the team sees at this time of year, is the drain on resources dealing with all the calls. Danks says it can be tricky around the holidays because so many members are away.
Another challenge is the number of people, he says, who go up for a hike during the day and forget the sun sets early or they go up to watch the sunset but don’t bring a light source and get stuck.