This past weekend we had a Wilderness First Aid course. Great refresher course for me. Its been a year and half since I completed OFA III so it was definitely time to review. Our last scenario was a semi-conscious subject with head injuries, possible spinal injuries and a fractured femur. We had to create a strecher out of available materials, package him and get him back to the cabin. It was pouring rain all weekend, so we were wet most of the time.
Picture of the Lions (Winter).
At the end of the course, Sunday night, we got paged out for a rescue – two males, 16 and 17 years old, called 911 from somewhere on the Howe Sound Crest trail. They were lost and it was getting dark and raining hard (record rainfall was recorded for Sunday night and Monday morning). It was a Lions Bay SAR call, so I didn’t end up getting tasked until 3am. At 3am I went up to Lions Bay and I was dispatched with Don and Russ to hike up the East side of Mt. Harvey via the old logging road (the word “road” doesn’t really apply – more of an old trail). We set off and ended up starting our hike at about 6am, in the dark and torrential down pour. We made our way up the trail and met up with the Howe Sound Crest Trail, North West of David’s Peak. We made our way along the trail, calling out with our loud hailer, siren and whistles. It was extremely hard to hear due to the hurricane force winds on the ridge and rain.
At about 1:30pm we thought we heard a reply to our calls but could not be sure. We continued hiking South East along the trail. As we hiked down into the col between the Lions and the ridge we saw Adam and Alec and their two dogs hiking towards us. When we met up with them Don asked “Have you guys seen any lost hikers?”. They responded “Yes, that would be us” (a bit of search and rescue humour).
They were extremely wet, tired and cold. Their cotton clothes were soaked, so we re-clothed them, provided some food and water, checked pulses, circulation and started hiking towards the Lions. If you have done the trail you know that some sections are a little exposed and tough at the best of times. So after no sleep for both rescuers and subjects, pouring rain, wind, fog, and exhaustion, the trail was a little challenging.
At some points I was holding on to one of the subjects in front of me with one hand, holding on to the rock with the other hand, and keeping an eye on Mocha, the dog, behind me, which would occasionaly try and bite us. I was hoping Mocha wouldn’t try and take a chunk out of me on the vertical parts of the trail as we would both end up going for a long ride down the mountain.
We made it over the ridge, and met up with our back-up team at about 4pm. We again reclothed and fed Adam and Alec – who were doing extremely well considering the circumstances and continued down. We finally made it out at about 6:30pm. Their parents were extremely grateful to have there children back safe and sound. Adam and Alec were very thankful as well.
It was great to have a positive outcome on this rescue, as we carry too many young people out of the mountains, who haven’t been so lucky.
Hope to see you kids out hiking again, and maybe they will think about joining NSR once they are old enough. They would be great additions to the team.