We started off last night with training, equipment maintenance, and reviewing some video of Hannes’ accident site. I will leave this for another discussion as there were some interesting points about the type of snowpack that is present this year.
Nearing the end of training we received a call from a missing backcountry snowboarder on Seymour who was lost. Due to the events of last week you could see our motivation was a little lacking, however, rescues don’t take a break unfortunately.
We headed up Seymour at about 9pm and started hiking/snowshoeing down Suicide Gully where we believed the subject to be. As we descended the gully we set off parachute flares, and talked to Gord (the subject) on the phone. He informed us he could see the flares so we knew we were closing in.
The gully had large holes and undercut snow increasing the danger of breaking through a snowbridge and falling into the creek – careful travel was required. As well, we had a few parachute flare malfunctions, one of them burning a hole in Greg W.’s glove as it burned without launching and another one melting my glove as it launched – reminding us to always wear gloves when launching flares.
We found his tracks and began following them down the gulley. The tracks kept leading up the side of the gulley and back down, dramatically increasing distance travelled and elevation gain and loss – it was a bit of stairmaster hike.
At one point Gord ascended the snow slope and his tracks dissapeared into some cliff bands. We opted to drop down and around and luckily gained voice contact with him and were able to access him via a steep snow slope.
We found Gord (aka Gord the Mountain Goat) at about 2:30am, he was unijured but cold as he was wearing only shorts and t-shirt and it was close to zero degrees. Greg and Mike G. provided some warmer clothes, food and water and then helped Gord down the steep snow slope and back onto our up track.
We started the hike out, and got back to the parking lot at about 4:30am.
EDIT: Note from Tim Jones
Just as we were debriefing a second time on Johannes’s tragic accident our SAR MGRs pagers went off . I took the call from the RCMP and found out we had a potential Suicide Gully task for a lost snowboarder. Everyone in the room looked at each other but we immediately were back in the saddle again. It was a long drawn out affair as you will see reading John’s Blog but to me is was sign that our team is coping very well with the loss of our teammate and is doing what we do just as well.
A very proud moment to be a Member and Team Leader of North Shore Rescue
North Shore Rescue