Pam and Brian Smith of Maple Ridge hiked up to Alder Flats and the Lookout in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past weekend, prepared for the mild winter conditions they encountered. (Ron Paley/Special to The News)

Pam and Brian Smith of Maple Ridge hiked up to Alder Flats and the Lookout in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past weekend, prepared for the mild winter conditions they encountered. (Ron Paley/Special to The News)

VIDEO: Avalanche danger increases on Golden Ears as weather improves

Search and rescue team and outdoor enthusiast offer tips for those heading out into the backcountry

Nice weather in recent days is drawing more hikers out onto the trails at Golden Ears Provincial Park, prompting a safety reminder from the local search team and an outdoor enthusiast.

Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue members have been at Alder Flats and Evan’s Valley in recent weeks, and watched a number of avalanches coming off the high ridges that have been, what search team leader Rick Laing describes as, “impressive and awe-inspiring.”

But while he continues to be wowed by the power of Mother Nature, he noted the danger to most local hikers remains low – depending on what parts of the park people are venturing into.

“For the most part, we don’t have too much concern with avalanche danger,” Laing said, “as most of the high-risk areas are out of reach for the casual day hiker. Where the dangers lie are obviously in the higher alpine – such as Golden Ears, which doesn’t see as much use due to access time and the park gate hours.”

Evan’s Valley is another high potential area for avalanches. Those alpine areas are currently considered as “moderate” danger, rising to “considerable” later this week as the warm weather continues to melt the snow pack, Laing said.

“People travelling into the mountains need to have both the proper equipment and proper training for travelling in and through avalanche terrain,” he advised.

RECENT: Injured hiker rescued from Golden Ears park

Even while travelling in treeline areas, proper equipment and the knowledge to use it is important, Laing encouraged.

Depending on snow conditions, footwear might include either snowshoes or micro spikes for safe travel on trails.

And, Laing said, hikers should always check for current conditions and make themselves aware of travel routes, which includes checking for avalanche danger updates online at avalanche.ca.

RELATED: Maple Ridge back-country deadly during avalanche season, but difficult to get to

Local outdoor enthusiast Ron Paley was up to Alder Flats and the Lookout in Golden Ears on Saturday and shared a similar warning, having heard and seen at least four avalanches during a 4.5-hour, 14.2 km trek half way up to the summit.

“We watched from a distance, four good avalanches that happened while we had a break in the sunshine,” Paley said.

“The avalanches were medium size and were hard to see because of shade and sunlight against the mountain. You could definitely hear them,” he said, noting he made the trek with fellow West Maple Ridge residents and fellow outdoor enthusiasts Pam and Brian Smith.

Not surprising, they encountered snow and ice in the upper region of their hike, and were grateful to have their crampons with them.

“Good to have with you just in case,” Paley said.

Starting out of the East Canyon parking lot at 9 a.m., he described the temperatures as cool, encountering their first sections of ice and spots of deep snow about six kilometres in. But by the time they reached Alder Flats, and took the further 20-minute trek over to the Lookout, he said the sun was high in the sky and temperatures had risen to 12C.

“Beyond [that point] the snow conditions get worse,” Paley said, noting they weren’t willing to trek further. “From our location we were safe to watch any avalanches that were happening… I always make sure we stay safe, whether it’s just me or people with me.”

He recommended all hikers carry liquids and enough supplies in case they are injured and need to spend the night.

“Just be sensible and plan your trip. Always make sure you leave a detailed map of where you are going, and leave it with someone who will know when you are expected back,” he said.

“People don’t realized conditions can change anytime. Layer up your clothing for the conditions,” Paley added, also suggesting participation with outdoor clubs, such as the Ridge Meadows Outdoor Club, is helpful.

“I am a member. They have many experienced people who can help you learn safety… By doing your part you prevent endangering our local Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue members. They are a dedicated SAR group that always have your back.

“I remember while building the Golden Ears emergency shelter back in late September 2002, how conditions can change. People below were enjoying their sunny day and we had a freak snowstorm come in. Mother Nature always lets you know who the boss is,” Paley said.

“Enjoy the backcountry for its beauty but remember, go prepared!”

In the meantime, the outdoor club is reportedly looking for volunteers to assist with trail work in Golden Ears Provincial Park. Those interested can contact Alan at trailwork@rmoutdoorclub.ca.

RELATED: 2020 one of the busiest years for Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue


Have a story tip? Email: editor@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

AvalancheMaple RidgeSearch and Rescue

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Ron Paley and his neighbours headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. He offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Ron Paley and his neighbours headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. He offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Hikers headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. Among them was Ron Paley who took this photo and offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Hikers headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. Among them was Ron Paley who took this photo and offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Pam and Brian Smith of Maple Ridge hiked up to Alder Flats and the Lookout in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past weekend, prepared for the mild winter conditions they encountered. (Ron Paley/Special to The News)

Pam and Brian Smith of Maple Ridge hiked up to Alder Flats and the Lookout in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past weekend, prepared for the mild winter conditions they encountered. (Ron Paley/Special to The News)

Ron Paley and his neighbours headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. He offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Ron Paley and his neighbours headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. He offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Ron Paley and his neighbours headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. He offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Ron Paley and his neighbours headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. He offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Ron Paley and his neighbours headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. He offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Ron Paley and his neighbours headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. He offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Just Posted

web
UPDATE: Fire investigators on scene at Mission Walmart

Fire department has yet to rule out whether it was intentionally set

Patrick Penner photo.
Southbound crash on Abbotsford-Mission Bridge

Crash involves dump truck and at least one other vehicle, emergency crews on scene

web
Mission mayoral candidate – Paul Horn

Candidates answer three questions about issues impacting Mission

web
Mission mayoral candidate – Earl Babich

Candidates answer three questions about issues impacting Mission

CTTV footage released by the Abbotsford Police Department.
Abbotsford Police looking to identify gas station bandit

Man commits 2 robberies in 2 days, makes off with cash and cigarettes

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier John Horgan booked to get AstraZeneca shot Friday

‘Let’s show all British Columbians that the best vaccine is the one that’s available to you now,’ he said

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canada’s incoming supply of Moderna vaccine slashed in half through end of April

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
P.1 variant likely highest in B.C. due to more testing for it: Dr. Henry

Overall, just under 60% of new daily cases in the province involve variants

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Dr. Bonnie Henry – in a B.C. health order that went into effect April 12 – granted WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce workplace closures with COVID-19 spread. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
24 workplace closures being enforced in Fraser Health under new COVID-19 order

WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce closures if COVID-19 has spread to 3 or more employees

Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue were conducting training operations at Gold Creek Falls when a firefighter broke their leg. (Eileen Robinson photo - Special to The News)
Firefighter suffers broken leg during swift water rescue practice in Golden Ears park

A training exercise at Maple Ridge waterfall on Wedesday results in mishap

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Most Read