SAR Day 44: For god’s sake, make the beeping stop!!

I really shouldn’t complain, but 5 calls in 12 hours is quite a lot.

Sunday night started with a late evening page for a lost person near Burnaby Lake. I did not respond to the call, but I did monitor it through pages and emails, and it was resolved around 1:00AM Monday.

However, late Sunday evening Squamish SAR got a call for two lost hikers near Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Park, with a scheduled start for early AM.

In the AM, a second call came in for a BASE jumper stranded on the Chief, the second jumper in the last few weeks. Since there was already one on-going call, I rescheduled part of my day and responded. The jumper was clinging to some trees 100m above the route called “Seasoned in the Sun” to the left of the grand wall area. After some discussion and heading to a staging area, we were glad to see that the jumper was being rescued by some friends. After determining that he was uninjured and that assistance was not necessary (and since he was not the one who had called 911), the part of the team assigned to this rescue packed up to assist with the other call.

My day diverged from SAR at this point because I had some family matters to attend to. However, before leaving I heard that there was possibly a second lost person in the same area as the first two. How this call was resolve I do not know, but from my experience it was probably a false alarm.

Around 6PM I became available to assist again, and as I came up on the radio to see if the call was still going, I was startled by yet another page. Another call, this time for an injured hiker near Garibaldi Lake!

As I was driving to the SAR Base, I hear one of the helicopter pilots announce he had located the two lost hikers; they were in fact 700 feet below the summit of Columnar Peak; as we later learned they had been there most of the day, within a few hundred meters of where the radio repeater had been set up in the morning.

The response to this call was quite big; members from North Shore, Lion’s Bay, Chilliwack SAR, Squamish and Surrey.

Here’s the problem; I’m typing this at quarter to eleven, so that day’s not over yet. That’s 5 calls I’ve been directly paged with, and the day’s not over yet.

2 Comments on “SAR Day 44: For god’s sake, make the beeping stop!!

  1. OK, it was obviously a perfectly crazy holiday weekend, which is why so many calls.

    But can you please explain to me how you become lost at Burnaby Lake? Even in the dark? Is there any dry part of that park that is not within 50m of a roadway?

    OK, I assume in this case "lost" means "last seen in park, has not been seen since" and an injury is presumed, but still.

  2. I can't say much about the search except that sometimes we're asked to look for people reported in distress; these can be ill, or injured either mentally or physically. Often they are Alzheimer's patients.

    I should have used the word "missing" rather than "lost". Lost implies the individual doesn't know where they are, missing implies the individual's "people" (relatives, guardians) do not know where they are.

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