Three Manitoba men had to be rescued from the summit of the Golden Hinde, the Island’s tallest mountain, after they were too exhausted from the 2,195-metre climb to get back.
“They hadn’t researched the mountain particularly well and the app that they were using was not a technical type of app that would have given descriptions about routes,” said Campbell River Search and Rescue search manager Daryl Beck.
The trio, one of whom had suffered an ankle sprain, ended up spending the night on the mountain, along with three rescuers.
It was the third incident in recent weeks drawing a response from Campbell River Search and Rescue, with another on the mountain July 24 and one at nearby Myra Falls July 30. Along with those, two people were rescued from the summit of Bald Mountain near Youbou on Tuesday.
Beck said the search team was called in about 5 p.m. Wednesday, after Campbell River RCMP relayed a phone message from the hikers, who realized they wouldn’t be able to get to their campsite lower down the mountain.
Daylight was winding down, so two team members were put in a helicopter “with the idea to fly to the summit, put the helicopter down, load these three guys on and take them back to their base camp or maybe their vehicle,” Beck said.
The helicopter would then return for the members.
On the first trip, the pilot decided the best place to land was lower down the mountain to let the members out to set up camp. Later, the pilot shuttled more equipment to the rescuers, including blankets and a first-aid kit, and brought another member in to help.
In the end, because of the time of day, it was decided that all six people would spend the night on the mountain.
The three members hiked up to the summit to help the men.
Hiking from the mountain camp to the top, where the men were, then guiding them back down to the camp took about five hours, Beck said.
“So they didn’t finish that off until around 2:30, 3 o’clock in the morning.”
One search member said he only got about an hour of sleep before the helicopter flew back at first light to get the group, Beck said.
He said the weather was “very co-operative.”
The hikers were very thankful but worried about what the rescue would cost, Beck said.
“The message there is that this doesn’t cost people anything,” he said.
“This is a government-funded program.”
Beck said recent incidents led the team to bring in a helicopter from North Shore Rescue because its normal provider doesn’t have one available, since it’s being used to fight wildfires elsewhere.
He said hikes on the Golden Hinde need to be carefully planned, and hikers should bring a communication device.
“It’s a popular climb but it has parts of it that are challenging.”
Beck said he likes to see people enjoy the outdoors, as long as they’re prepared.
“We’ve had some great weather opportunities here and certainly want people to keep doing that. It’s just sometimes they get into difficulties.”