Columbia Valley Search and Rescue and Columbia Valley RCMP worked together to locate a hiker missing on Mount Pinto last weekend, unfortunately discovering the man dead at the bottom of a cliff near the trail.
Columbia Valley RCMP received an alert on Friday, August 2nd at 11 p.m. that a 62-year old man had departed earlier that day to hike Mount Pinto solo and had not returned. Police officers immediately went to the trailhead where they found the hiker’s vehicle, searched the immediate area and, finding nothing, notified Columbia Valley Search and Rescue (CVSAR).
CVSAR, as outlined in a press release, planned a rescue operation through the night, requesting help from Golden and District SAR (GADSAR) and Kimberley SAR (KSAR), and launched a search at first light on Saturday, August 3rd. Searchers from the Columbia Valley, Golden, Kimberley and Cranbrook combed the trail starting at the bottom and, with a helicopter lift, from the top, as other team members and a rescue dog searched high-probability areas off-trail.
As the afternoon wore on, rescue personnel conduced an overflight to help plan additional search areas and spotted a person at the bottom of a cliff face in an avalanche path at roughly 4 p.m. Upon investigation rescuers confirmed the person at the bottom of the cliff to be deceased and to be the missing hiker. A helicopter longline team from Golden helped extricate the hiker and SAR volunteers.
CVSAR and the Columbia Valley RCMP extended deep condolences to the family of the hiker and expressed thanks to GADSAR, KSAR, Coldstream Helicopters, BigHorn Helicopters, and Alpine Helicopters.
The week prior CVSAR and GADSAR were involved in a rescue operation in the Bugaboos, helping helicopter evacuate a British climber who had separated his shoulder. A guide and two CVSAR members who happened to already be out in the Bugaboos helped prepare the injured climber for evacuation and moved him to a spot where a helicopter could land. The climber was flown to Invermere and transferred to BC Ambulance.
CVSAR as has at least four other alerts this summer — one for overdue hikers at Cobalt Lake in the Bugaboos, one for a missing fisherman on Findlay Creek, one for a rescue at Larix Lake (hard up against the B.C. Alberta border, by Sunshine Meadows), and one request for assistance that initiated near the Lake of the Hanging Glacier but later appeared to be near the Bugaboos. All cases were minor (either a mechanical breakdown or the missing parties eventually returned under their own power) or saw rescues conducted by other agencies (Parks Canada), but CVSAR has pointed out that all these incidents highlight the cooperation between various SAR teams, private companies, and other agencies.
The local search and rescue outfit, which responds to incidents in both the backcountry and urban settings and assists in emergencies such as wildfires and floods, is reminding people to properly prepare and plan for their outings and leave a detailed trip plan with a responsible person.