Injured hiker rescued near summit of Mount Arrowsmith

Injured hiker rescued near summit of Mount Arrowsmith
WatchA trio of hikers had just summited the 1800m mountain Saturday afternoon when the man fell over 20 metres suffering serious injuries

A Nanaimo area man was rescued after he was critically injured during a fall at a spot close to the summit of Mount Arrowsmith on Saturday.

“Conditions on the mountain were not good,” said Paul Berry, search manager for Comox Valley Ground SAR. “Storm cells were coming in throughout the day. Just around 1 pm one of the party slipped on the rocks at the summit, took a pretty significant fall about 20 metres and then skidded a fair way down onto a snowfield.”

The other members of his hiking group were able to call 911 using a cell phone and the Alberni Valley Rescue Squad was first to respond.

As a team was hiking up the mountain a helicopter was able to locate the man and it was determined that he’d have to be hoisted off the mountain.

That’s when Comox Valley and Campbell River SAR teams trained in that kind of rescue were called in.

“He was too badly injured to carry him out,” said Berry. “We’ve done the rescue before from the top of Arrowsmith a number of years ago and it’s about a 16-hour pack from the top of the mountain.”

“We were fortunate that the storm cells moved in and out,” he added.

Berry also credits the skilled pilots from Ascent Helicopters, who were able to get to the scene, hoist him out and transfer him to an awaiting BC Ambulance advance care helicopter in Parksville.

From there, the man was flown to a “higher level of care” in Vancouver, according to Berry, who also said the man received the critical care he needed on the mountain before being handed over to advance care paramedics.

“In the backcountry, we are the first responders,” he said. “It is absolutely what these teams train for to be able to effect a rescue in difficult conditions and do so safely for everyone involved.”

At 1,819 metres, Mount Arrowsmith is the tallest mountain the Central and Southern Vancouver Island.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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