Double trouble is no problem for searchers

Volunteers from Campbell River Search and Rescue respond to back-to-back events last Saturday

Search and rescue volunteers deserved double-double coffees after back-to-back events Saturday.

It started with members of Campbell River Search and Rescue locating two overdue hikers in the mountains of Strathcona Park.

And it ended on the way home when the volunteers were among the first at an accident scene where they attended to an injured motorcyclist.

The first call came in at 3:50 p.m. regarding two overdue hikers. They were hiking in the Crest Mountain area, planned to traverse two other mountains and then descend to the Elk River Main.

When the two experienced hikers, both in their 20s, were 24 hours overdue, they were reported missing.

“Our initial assessment led us to believe they had not left enough time to complete the hike as well there were some very steep and rough terrain areas that could have slowed them down,” said search manager Grant Cromer in a news release.

The first part of their journey was on a marked trail, but after that it degraded to a unmarked route with high ridges and then descents and ascents of steep valleys.

Search and rescue dispatched members by road to set up base at the trail head and also sent up a chopper.

The helicopter team was able to land at the top of Big Den Mountain and found a log book buried in a rock cairn. It had an entry from the hikes that stated they had run into trouble finding a route to descend from Big Den and had lost a day of travelling.

They were forced to turn around and this caused them to lose a day of hiking.

“We knew they were close in the area based on the log entry so we flew back along the route and found them in a meadow,” said Cromer.

The two were transported by helicopter back to the trail head parking lot and then departed the scene.

Then, on the return road trip on Highway 28, the search teams were first on scene for a motorcycle accident near Echo Lake. A female rider lost control of her bike on a wide corner and went off the road.

She was ejected from her bike and landed down a short embankment. The search volunteers administered first aid and assisted ambulance paramedics in getting her out of the bush.

Caution urged

Cromer also issued the following advisory to hikers:

“The message we want to pass on is know the route you intend to travel and pack sufficient supplies: Food, shelter, adequate clothing, water.

“The temperatures this time of year can be down to the single digits in the mountains and even freezing near the peaks. In this case the terrain got the better of the (two hikers). They were experienced, but the route was very rough and it took an entire day of unsuccessfully scrambling around trying to find a safe route to descend, which led to the shortage of food for the return trip.”