It was a hard day and a long night for a lot of North Shore Rescue volunteers.
After spending Sunday in Lynn Headwaters failing to find a trace of Carl Couture – a hiker who’s been missing since Oct. 31 – an NSR team was up well past midnight rescuing a skier who’d hiked and schussed off-trail on Mount Seymour.
The disoriented 21-year-old followed a waterway down the mountainside and found himself alongside Shone Creek as the sun was setting.
The skier called North Vancouver RCMP, who in turn contacted North Shore Rescue.
Volunteers had to break trail through fresh snow and navigate uneven terrain down the mountainside, according to team leader Mike Danks.
After a forecast let them know the area was safe, the first squad swept in by skis, getting within 50 metres of the skier, who was in a “nasty spot,” according to Danks.
The area’s uncertain terrain makes it difficult to get in and to “get somebody out,” Danks said.
“We have had a number of fatalities in Shone Creek in the past,” he noted.
While some NSR volunteers prompted the skier to head up the hill towards them, a squad in snowshoes stomped out a trail to make their uphill journey a little easier.
While the trail was taking shape, the NSR team outfitted the skier with some warm clothing and added hot water to instant soup to help him gather enough strength for the climb.
He got out “safe and sound,” at about 1:45 a.m., according to Danks.
“He got lucky,” Danks said. “If you do get lost and you have a track that you can follow back up, that’s the best thing you can do because that’s typically what we’re going to do.”