February 13, 2018 4:32 am
Updated: February 13, 2018 5:44 pm

Climbers rescued from Crown Mountain amid busy weekend for SAR teams

North Shore Rescue was called out more than a half-dozen times to assist people who got into trouble in the mountains on Family Day. As Jordan Armstrong reports, the latest operation saw them pluck a pair from an area with the ominous name.


North Shore Rescue (NSR) volunteers have pulled a pair of climbers off of Crown Mountain, after a cold night in the back country.

NSR crews reached the pair, a man and a woman, just after 3 a.m., but had to wait until daylight to lift them out by helicopter.

The two had been trying to reach an area known as the “Widowmaker” and were rappelling Spindle Peak when the woman fell a staggering 45 meters.

“I thought she was dead, actually. I couldn’t see the helmet, it was damaged from all possible sides, it’s just a piece of junk now,” said her climbing partner, Serguei Okountsev.

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Crews say the woman sustained head and ankle injuries, and was unable to walk.

Rescuers successfully helicoptered the injured climber to safety just before 9 a.m. on Tuesday, where an ambulance was waiting to take her to hospital.

The pair were climbing in an area that is closed to the public this time of year, but say they did not see any signs to that effect.

And the mishap isn’t deterring them. They’re still planning to summit Denali, North America’s highest, peak in May.

It was the eighth rescue of a busy Family Day for crews in North Vancouver, with the last two calls of the day coming in one after another at around 8 p.m., including the one for the stranded climbers.

With so many people taking advantage of the sunny long weekend, Jeff Yarnold with North Shore Rescue says they’re renewing the warning to be prepared before you head out on a hike.

“We’ve had some serious calls and really it comes down to the conditions right now, I mean it’s a beautiful sunny day, but we’re dealing with very, very hard packed travel conditions out there right now and it’s bulletproof,” he said.

“We’re getting a lot of people that are falling and they’re sliding a long ways and that’s how they’re getting hurt.”

-With files from Jordan Armstrong

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