Planning a hike? New videos prepare hikers for most dangerous routes in B.C.

B.C. Search and Rescue Association is providing information on how to stay safe on a hike. (BCSARA)

Search and rescue associations across British Columbia have never been busier.

“There was a 30 per cent increase in search and rescue calls there with COVID,” said Sandra Riches, executive director of AdventureSmart.

And they’re on track for another record-breaking year with 2,000 calls in B.C. just five months into 2022.

As a result, the volunteers are not only tired but stretched thin. So, the BC Search and Rescue Association is trying to make sure those heading outside are more prepared.

“We have to go out thinking that we might have to spend the night,” said Riches. “An average time for search and rescue call for B.C. is eight hours. Most calls come in right around sunset when it’s starting to get dark and cold. So can you spend the next eight hours comfortable warm, dry, fed, hydrated?”

That means taking the essentials: communication devices, emergency signaling devices, extra clothing, extra food and water, light source, navigation, and fire-making kit, no matter how big or small the adventure.

Riches is also encouraging the public to be realistic with our capabilities. Injuries happen, but the other top two reasons for search and rescue callouts are from those getting lost, or from those exceeding their abilities.

“We often think, well that trail is easy to get to, or I’ve seen it on social media. It looks great and everyone looks like they’re having a good time, I can get there,” said Riches. “That easy access can give people a sense of security, but don’t let that easy access fool you.”

The association has identified the hotspots in B.C. where the emergency calls are coming from the most. Two are on Vancouver Island:

Top 11 trails with 911 calls

  • Stawamus Chief Trail (Squamish)
  • Juan de Fuca Trail (Vancouver Island)
  • Eagle Bluff Trail (West Vancouver)
  • Mt Seymour Trail (North Vancouver)
  • Skywalk South Trail (Whistler)
  • Howe Sound Crest Trail (West Vancouver)
  • Golden Ears Summit Trail (maple ridge)
  • Grouse Grind Trail (North Vancouver)
  • Mt. Albert Edward Trail (Vancouver Island)
  • Black Tusk Trail (Squamish)
  • Hanes Valley Trail (north Vancouver)

To help lower calls, the association has produced videos of all hikes, offering in-depth trip details, recommended months to go, how long it takes, and a good sense of what to expect.

Because it’s not that they don’t want you there, they just want you to be safe.

“The more that people get out there, that’s awesome, but the more they get prepared, it’s even better,” said Riches.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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