Two hikers who got stuck while ascending Mt. Arrowsmith were airlifted to safety Monday, July 18, after spending the night in a narrow gully.
The Alberni Valley Rescue Squad sent its rapid response team to locate the hikers after receiving a call at 10 p.m. Sunday night. The hikers were stranded in a gully west of the Judges Route hiking trail high up on Mt. Arrowsmith, an AVRS spokesperson said.
“The subjects had accessed the West Ridge from the Main Gully route and were climbing a route using ropes, anchors, etc. on wet and slick third- and fourth-class rock,” the spokesperson said. “Due to the terrain and fading light, they did not have time to finish the route in daylight.”
The two hikers rappelled off the ridge into a gully, where they encountered a snow moat—the place where rock meets snow— that was steep, exposed and impassable. They couldn’t go further down and were unable to climb back up to the ridge, so they called for help.
The AVRS rapid response team members did a sound sweep and finally spotted the hikers’ headlamps, but searchers were unable to reach them due to darkness and treacherous conditions.
North Shore Rescue from Vancouver was tasked at around 4:30 a.m. to fly with Talon Helicopters and attempt a helicopter rescue.
Two hoist technicians from North Shore Rescue (NSR) flew with Talon Helicopters in their AS365 to Mt. Arrowsmith to assist in the rescue. The hoist techs were lowered into the gully and with the assistance of Talon’s pilot and hoist operator, successfully lifted the two stranded hikers to safety.