Climbers airlifted in two weekend rescues
By Andy Stonehouse
Squamish area search and rescue volunteers were kept extremely busy last Sunday as they and the RCMP participated in two separate air rescues for injured hikers and rock climbers.
Squamish RCMP received a first call at about 1:30 p.m. on June 28 with word that two hikers had fallen into a crevasse on Mount Serratus, located near Lake Lovelywater in the Tantalus Range. A third member of the party had walked out of the area and notified the police.
Squamish Search and Rescue members were notified and 15 volunteers responded to the call, airlifted to the scene by two helicopters. Whistler's Helicopter Flight Rescue team from Blackcomb were also brought in to aid in the rescue.
Authorities were able to use a long-line system to remove the injured hiker from the crevasse. A 22-year-old woman from Canmore, Alberta was taken from the scene and transported to Squamish General Hospital with minor injuries. Her 28-year-old male hiking companion was also airlifted to hospital with minor injuries.
Just as the first rescue was being concluded, RCMP received a second call with word that a female climber had fallen while working on a challenging route on the Chief.
Squamish RCMP Sgt. Dwayne Wetteland said the woman, a 29-year-old climbing instructor and guide, had apparently failed to "knot off" her climbing rope and had slid off the end of the line, falling approximately 40 metres to Memorial Ledge on the face of the Chief.
Fifteen search and rescue volunteers responded to the incident, using the same helicopters and further assistance from Blackcomb's rescue team.
With dozens of weekend travellers watching the action from points along Highway 99, rescuers used a long-line system to extract the climber and shuttle her to Squamish General Hospital. She was treated for minor injuries.
Wetteland said the summer has already seen about 15 significant rescue missions for climbers and hikers and said he hopes participants will do their best to help prevent further accidents.
"They've just got to be aware of what they're doing out there — this is getting ridiculous," Wetteland said. "We're starting to run short of volunteers for these rescues."