Yesterday at 14:00 North Shore Rescue was activated by the British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS) for a injured hiker on Crown Mountain, near Grouse Mountain. Initial information indicated a 20-30 foot fall, with a adult male subject stuck between a tree and rock ledge over a steep drop. With unknown injuries a multi pronged response was quickly mobilized involving our helicopter flight rescue team, a team physician, our rope rescue team, and a member already in the area hiking. Upon further investigation by the SAR manager it was ascertained that the subject had injured his arm in the fall and was indeed stuck on a ledge.
Talon Helicopters pilot Kelsey Wheeler, flying their AS355 TwinStar helicopter (C-FTLC), responded to Cap Gate SAR station where he picked up the flight rescue team to perform a reconnaissance of the accident scene. The patient was located with a bystander on a steep slope over a drop. It appeared, that while traversing the snow slope near the summit, he slipped and slid on mixed rock and snow and was luckily able to catch a tree.
With a SAR member already on the ground who had hiked up from Crown Pass, it was decided that a helicopter flight technician would be dropped off with the team doctor to access, secure and stabilize the patient before a longline extraction. The two members were subsequently hover exited on rocky prominence near the peak of Crown in complex but expertly executed maneuver by the pilot.
The three members on scene quickly rigged anchors and the physician was lowered on a rope to the patient with a harness. After securing the patient and splinting the injury, the rescuer and patient were belayed up to a safe location. While this was happening, the helicopter returned to Cap Gate SAR station and rigged for a longline rescue. After a short briefing, the subject and helicopter technician were airlifted from the site to waiting BCAS paramedics for further treatment and transport to hospital.
We would like to thank all of the bystanders on scene for helping the patient while we were responding. Particularly an off-duty Coquitlam firefighter who stayed with him the whole time.
Although summer/spring like conditions are prevailing on the North Shore mountains, there are still pockets of snow on popular routes. In the shade these can be icy and treacherous. Proper footwear is essential no matter the time of year (hiking boots over running shoes) and it is always important to bring the 10 Essentials. It is also a good idea to bring micro-spikes and an ice axe if you are planning a trip to the higher elevations, particularly where there is exposure or you are on a northerly aspect. Note the subject was relatively well prepared in this case – accidents happen.