Earlier this week, an amateur climber found themselves stranded on the cliff face of Little Mountain.
Shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday, Parksville RCMP were called by a father whose son was trapped on the side of an escarpment near Parksville.
Police immediately notified Arrowsmith Search and Rescue, who had a rope team on the scene within 30 minutes.
“He had been trying to figure out a way to get out for a period of time, and when they decided he couldn’t and it was dark, they decided it was best to call 911,” said Ken Neden, search manager with Arrowsmith SAR.
The rescuers quickly put together a plan to set up a rope system and lower one of their members down to the man. The first rappel they made down the cliff was an exploratory one to assess the situation.
“He was on a ledge, and he was reasonably secure, but not the best place to be,” Neden told CHEK News.
Additional rigging was required before a full lowering could be conducted, but by 11 p.m., the amateur climber was able to be lifted back up by using a pully system.
“It was discovered that [he] was pretty far down and it was going to be a long haul up,” wrote the man’s father who was at the scene in a thank-you letter to the rescuers.
“The crew of four who did all the heavy pulling, wow! It was evident that it was a lot of work — a special thanks to them for the workout when most of Parksville had already gone to bed.”
Neden says this is the exact sort of thing his team trains for. “Last year we put in 2000 hours of training on rope alone, so we were able to set up quite efficiently.”
It comes as a reminder to be vigilant when climbing. Neden says people need to know what they’re getting into before starting a climb.
“Make sure you have ropes for a backup, or talk to experienced people — be prepared for what you’re getting into is the biggest thing.”
Arrowsmith Search and Rescue has been in the Parksville and Qualicum area since the 60s.
Currently, they’re fundraising to replace one of their vehicles and are partway through to their goal of $100,000.
To donate, visit their website.
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