NSR SAR crews were scrambled to Grouse Mountain early Monday morning after friends reported 2 climbers overdue. They were to have been attempting a difficult climb near Crown Mountain called the “Widow Maker”. When they did not arrive home, at their specified time, friends called police to report the pair overdue.
Upon receiving the call from police, ground teams were immediately deployed into the area before first light. They probed around Goat Mountain and Crown pass for any sign of the hikers. When dawn arrived, Talon Helicopters AS355 Twin Star helicopter arrived on scene. The pilot and 2 NSR HFRS members, Curtis Jones and Jeff Yarnold, got airborne right away. Within minutes they had spotted the two climbers. Although they were off route, in a steep gulley, they signalled to rescuers that they were OK.
However, with deteriorating weather, being off route, and the risk of the situation, it was decided that we would continue to attempt to access them in the safest possible manor and escort them out to safety. Ground and air crews continued to probe throughout the day.
On the final aerial probe up the Hanes Valley, rescuers spotted the pair coming out of the clouds. With limited light left, SAR members hover exited the helicopter and brought the two climbers out to the SAR base. Wet, cold, tired and relieved to be out, they were happy for a ride.
Remember everyone, the days are getting shorter and the weather worse. It is important to factor this into your plans when you head out there. All said, these two should be commended for telling people where they were going, when to expect them back, and carrying sufficient gear for the conditions.
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