A man in his 50s died while hiking up the Grouse Grind Wednesday evening.
North Shore Rescue’s Mike Danks tells Daily Hive that one of their own members happened to be hiking the Grind when he witnessed the man collapse at the halfway point at 8 pm.
“He called 9-1-1 and let search finders know as well,” says Danks. “We touched base with BC Ambulance, and they did confirm they got a 9-1-1 call for a cardiac arrest on the halfway mark on the Grind.”
Danks says their first priority was to get a helicopter up to the Grind, and it just so happens that Talon Helicopters had one in the area. Crews were sent to the Cap Gate search and rescue station where they did a reconnaissance mission, spotted the man, and liaised with the fire command.
“Due to the seriousness of the call, they opted for us to respond as well with a longline insertion.”
“This was a very well-coordinated response from three different agencies – that being BC Ambulance, District of North Vancouver Fire, and North Shore Rescue,” adds Danks.
He says within 15 minutes of getting the call, they had an aircraft sitting ready for the go-ahead from Fire Command. They inserted four people via longline where the man was connected to an auto pulse device, which allows CPR to be performed while patients are in transit on stretchers.
Still, despite all the quick efforts from crews – there was even a physician nearby helping to resuscitate the man – he was pronounced dead at the Cap Gate SAR station.
“I will say this man had advanced care almost immediately – as soon as he dropped, he had people doing CPR on him, we had advanced care flown in very quickly. He received the best possible care and I think all of the responding agencies would be very proud of the response,” says Danks.
It’s unknown whether the man had pre-existing heart conditions, but Danks says it was the man’s first time doing the Grouse Grind.
“I think you really need to make sure your fitness level is adequate for the hike that you’re going to be doing,” says Danks. “For first time hikers, I think they should start with a bit more of a gentle hike just to gauge their fitness level.”
“The Grouse Grind is an excellent hike, but it’s an advanced hike because it’s very steep. In his defence, he might have been in good shape, and it’s just something that happens, but I think it’s important that people do a little bit of research,” he says.
So far this year, North Shore Rescue has dealt with more than 70 rescues, an unusually high number this early during hiking season. Danks says last year, they broke records with 139 rescues.