Coquitlam Search and Rescue was contacted by the RCMP on Tuesday, November 17th, requesting our assistance in locating a male hiker on Eagle Ridge. The lone hiker had set out on a day hike up the Halvor Lunden trail towards Lindsay Lake. At around 4pm, the hiker realized he was still too high up on Eagle ridge to successfully descend before dark and it was beginning to snow.
The SAR managers were able to make contact with the hiker by cell phone. He was aware of his location and was prepared for the hike, however he admitted he did not have adequate clothing to spend the night. The hiker had a flashlight and was able to begin retracing his tracks in the snow back towards the Halvor Lunden trail.
Searchers mobilized at Buntzen Lake. The darkness and low cloud ceiling prevent any use of helicopter support for either access or assisting in locating the hiker. SAR managers were able to contact the hiker again by phone and were confident he was descending the correct trail. Search teams were sent up the Halvor Lunden trail and met the hiker without difficulty. All search teams and the hiker were out of the field shortly after 9pm.
This is the second search this month that Coquitlam SAR has been involved in where hikers have overestimated their day hiking objectives. With shorter daylight, winter weather and slower travel conditions it is easy to get caught by darkness.
Winter adds more risk to outdoor recreationists and adds complexities to search and rescue operations. The cold weather increases the consequences of being unprepared. Never venture out without the Ten Essentials and adequate clothing for the worst possible weather. Coastal winter weather conditions can significantly increase our time to locate and access missing persons and reduces the ability for rescue teams to utilize helicopters. Be prepared to take care of yourself overnight.
Tuesday is normally training night for Coquitlam SAR. This Tuesday night’s search provided a great opportunity for real life training for our 17 new member-in-training recruits. We had a record turn out of both regular and new members. This search was also was the first lead by our newest SAR manager Pat Hurley, who had just completed the SAR manager course last weekend. Way to go everyone!