Parks busy on rescue front
After four rescues last weekend, safety specialist for Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks Aaron Beardmore says climbers and hikers need to take care when heading outdoors, especially with the summer drawing to a close.
“It’s been very steady. In the past three weeks we’ve been experiencing a call volume of up to three or four rescues a day,” Beardmore said.
“It’s common for the months of July and August especially,” he added. “People are on holidays and the parks are really busy. The weather is nice and it’s a good time to be out there. Every year it’s about the same. After the September long weekend we’ll see a decline.”
The first of four weekend incidents occurred last Saturday (Aug. 11) when Parks responded to a call involving a Kimberley, B.C. man who suffered a broken ankle after falling on the east ridge of Mount Temple near Lake Louise.
“He fell between three and five metres and landed on a ledge predominately on his right foot,” Beardmore said. “He and his partner swapped leads and continued up that pitch to a relatively flat area above the big step and called for rescue.”
The climber was part of a group of five and was heli-slung off the mountain and transported to Banff Mineral Springs Hospital.
After a relatively quiet Sunday involving only one call regarding a 16-year-old who had fallen near Lake Agnes, Parks responded to three incidents on Monday (Aug. 13). The first involved two stranded hikers on climbing cliffs near Lake Louise, Beardmore said.
“They weren’t climbers, but they thought they could connect the shoreline trail with the highline trail by turning right as soon as they hit the back of the lake. But they didn’t recognize they hadn’t actually left the trail and continued up,” he said.
The pair called for help and Parks dispatched two specialists to find them. The second incident on Monday dealt with two overdue climbers on the north face of Mount Temple on the Greenwood-Jones route.
Parks specialists located the overdue climbers high along the route where it almost meets the glacier, Beardmore said. They signaled to the climbers to see if they needed help, however, they indicated they didn’t.
The final incident occurred Monday evening when a 70-year-old male suffered a broken or sprained ankle after slipping on a rock while descending from Abbott Pass.
“The general safety message is to always be prepared for the type of activity you’re engaging in, whether it’s canoeing, hiking, climbing or mountaineering, and always have the appropriate experience level for your chosen activity,” Beardmore advised.
“Do as much research and planning ahead of time as you can so if something does go wrong it’s much more smooth when you need a response or a rescue.”
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