This morning, North Shore Rescue (NSR) was requested by the RCMP to respond to two stranded climbers on the Needles in Lynn Headwaters regional park. A NSR manager interviewed the climbing pair and determined an approximate location of the subjects. Subsequently, a three man Helicopter External Transport (HETS) team was deployed to locate and extract the pair. Shortly after 8:30 AM, the two subjects were spotted from the air on a steep rock face below the main peak of the Needles. Crews immediately flew back to the staging area and rigged the helicopter for a 150 foot longline rescue.
Returning to the scene, two NSR HETS members were inserted via helicopter longline to a small ledge on the rock face. From here, they quickly assessed the subjects and got them into evacuation harnesses. The subjects were then airlifted, one at a time, from the site back to the staging area. While the call itself was relatively straight forward, it was time compressed due to a weather system moving into the area. Crediting the teams high level of training and the pilots skill, the rescue was completed before the area was obscured by the weather. If the weather window had been missed, this call would have become a far more technical and time consuming endeavour.
The subjects having left from Lynn Headwaters yesterday, had intended to follow the ridge line all the way to Mt. Burwell. This is very technical terrain, and not a “route” to be attempted lightly. To their credit, they had left a detailed trip itinerary with a friend and they were both very well equipped. However, they ran into trouble as they got further along the ridge to the Needles. Eventually they decided to try and rappel down into the Seymour river valley. After multiple rappels on a fairly short rope, they started to lose daylight. Doing the right thing, they hunkered down for the night and reassessed their situation this morning. Being able to see the terrain they were in, they realized that they would not be able to rappel any further and that they were stuck. Realizing the danger of their situation, they made the right choice by calling for rescue.
Video of the Flight Team Spotting the Subjects