Hikers advised to exercise caution in North Shore mountains

Dec 19 2017, 5:09 pm

With adverse weather conditions forecasted to continue for several more days, North Shore Rescue is advising locals to exercise caution when hiking in the North Shore mountains.

Following a summer-long drought, the soil in the region has been unable to absorb rainwater as quickly as usual, which means there is a greater risk of trail instability on steeper slopes. Streams could also overflow from sudden high volumes in precipitation.

In addition to the rainfall, blustery conditions could cause additional tree falls, potentially obscuring or blocking trails.

“If you are still planning to head out for a hike, make sure you have researched the route thoroughly and take note of any creek crossings,” reads a statement by North Shore Rescue volunteer Curtis Jones. “Creek crossings can become extremely hazardous, if not impossible to cross, during periods of heavy rain. Even a small creek can swell to a much larger one.”

Over the last few days, rescuers have responded to a number of calls from individuals who have been unable to return from their hikes after creek levels rose in the period it took hikers to turn around.

“A poignant example occurred a number of years ago at Elsay Lake on Mount Seymour,” he continued. “Two hikers were forced to take shelter in the emergency huts loft after becoming stranded.”

“The rain started, the lake flooded, and the streams swelled in a very short period of time. In this interval it was too late for the hikers to make their own way out, as the trail was blocked by raging rivers where there were once streams. The lake rose so high, that it flooded the main floor of the emergency hut.”

On Monday, crews with Metro Vancouver Regional District closed the Grouse Grind to perform a post-windstorm trail stabilization assessment. The trail was reopened late this afternoon.

Clear skies and sunny conditions are expected to return to the region beginning Friday, just in time for the last weekend before schools reopen for session.

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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