One of B.C.’s busiest search and rescue teams was called to help find a stranded snowshoer on Cypress Mountain Monday night, only to find out she had made it home safely by herself.
Peter Haigh, a search manager with North Shore Rescue, told Black Press Media Tuesday that two men and an 18-year-old woman, who are from Mexico, had hiked up to St. Mark’s Summit to watch the sunset. But while making the two-hour trek back to the parking lot, the woman became separated from the group.
Haigh said all three hikers were ill-prepared, wearing only a few layers and puffy jackets, and had no lights to help see in the dark. Luckily, two other hikers who were making their way down the mountain offered the two men an extra light.
The men were able to call 911, and North Shore Rescue was deployed.
Fifteen volunteers were mobilized along the trail, with one group on skis and the other on foot. Because the woman only had a Mexican phone, they were unable to ping its location.
“It was -8 C at the parking lot, so minus more than that at the summit,” Haigh said.
While the men kept trying to reach the woman on their cellphones from the parking lot, Haigh said he spoke with the Canadian Armed Forces to see if they could help.
At about 8:30 p.m., the men got in touch with a roommate they were staying with in downtown Vancouver, who said the woman had somehow made it there safely.
Haigh said the incident was frustrating and the outcome lucky.
“We just need to reiterate, the temperatures are extremely cold, so take extra jackets in a backpack,” he said. “The human body is so remarkable. If you keep moving and keep warm, you can handle very cold temperatures. But if anything minor happens, you’re just going to cool right down.”