This last week has been one of the busiest for NSR in the last year. Almost every day from Feb 27 to March 3, NSR crews were involved in a SAR operation. Below is a brief a summary of the callouts:

Feb 27th

NSR HETs team requested to respond to medical emergency in Ladysmith, BC. Flight crews evacuated 2 seriously injured forestry workers to waiting air ambulance where they were airlifted to hospital. More on story in previous blog posts.

Feb 29th

Two young male skiers were rescued from Mosquito Creek at around 8 pm after getting lost while attempting to descend the Skyline Trail at the base of the Cut on Grouse Mtn. They had started down at 3 pm that day.
They had mistakenly taken a trail that led them deep into Misquito Creek. They were able to make a cel call for help. Unfortunately, their GPS coordinates, as indicated by their phone, put them in West End of Vancouver!!! RCMP Air 2 (an EC120 Helicopter) was used to spot subjects and vector a NSR ground team, who was already in Mosquito Creek Drainage , to their location. The subjects were then evacuated from an extremely steep area with the use of a rope belay.

March 1st

A call for a possible snowboarder in Suicide Gulley on Mt. Seymour required 5 NSR members, Seymour Ski Patrol, RCMP Air 2 and Metro Vancouver staff to spend almost 6 hours to rule out as unfounded. This was due to tracks being spotted going into the out-of-bounds area. Calls like these require extra due diligence to make sure no one is stuck in a life threatening situation.

March 2nd

NSR was called by West Vancouver Police Department (WVPD) and Cypress Resorts at 2 Am with a car in parking lot. The owners cell phone, shoes, and other street clothing was still in the car. The investigation led to confirm a male and female snowboarder both in their twenties were missing. A land and air based response with Talon Helicopters was launched at first light. The helicopter team spotted the subjects in the upper reaches of  Montizambert above the Howe Sound. Nearby Cypress Ski Patrollers were vectored to the subjects via the helicopter crew who spotted them. Both were cold and wet but otherwise okay, despite being lost since late afternoon the day before while skiing out-of-bounds.

March 3rd

Two young males, one a skier and one a snowshoer/snowboarder, attempted to contour SE below the peak of Hollyburn Mtn in common back-country gladed area.
Unfortunately, they got lost in the steep upper Nickey Creek drainage and phoned WVPD for help at 3 pm.  NSR responded with a dual pronged, land and air based response, supported by Cypress Resorts, BC Parks and Metro Vancouver staff. An NSR HETs team in Talon helicopters was able to fly into Nickey Creek using cel contact and text messages with subjects. Although unable to spot them due to a low cloud ceiling, the flight team was able to provide ground crews with a relative location. This was another case where the subjects phones rendered inaccurate GPS coordinates. A BC Parks ski team, working within NSR’s command structure, was sent to the peak of Hollyburn to sign cut and quickly found the subjects tracks. They were requested to follow. Simultaneously, further ground teams were deployed to the area. As suspected, the tracks led into Nickey Creek drainage, confirming the helicopter team’s find. Due to the terrain, it was difficult for ground teams to gain voice contact with the subjects. As such, the helicopter was used to confirm voice contact betwen rescers and subjects. The subjects were located by the BCParks team and extracted back to Nordic Area shortly before 7 pm.

Ultimately a very successful week as far as outcomes go, but also very busy for the all volunteer organization. It is a great time to remind everyone to be safe out there and pay attention to area boundaries. If you are heading into the back-country, make sure you prepared with the right equipment and check the avalanche forecast before you head out. Read more on taking the ten essentials here and on how to stay safe here.