North Shore Rescue volunteers are scratching their heads this morning about how a pair of lost hikers ended up near the top of Coliseum Mountain.
And they say the bizarre situation is yet another reminder of how dangerous the mountains can be, and how important it is to be prepared.
The search team was called out around midnight, after the two women called 911 saying they were lost, cold and wet.
The pair, a woman from Richmond and her friend from Shanghai, had taken transit to the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge for what was meant to be a short hike.
North Shore Rescue Search Manager Don Jardine said the women somehow ended up on the wrong trail, but kept walking anyway.
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No one knew where the women were, Jardine said, and search crews were lucky the pair had cell service and crews were able to ping their phone.
He said they were at 1,100 metres of elevation and as far as 10 kilometres from Lynn Canyon when they were found.
“In the rescue base we have a picture of somebody we’ve been looking for the last two years,” Jardine said.
“He was in the same area, just at dusk, same situation as them, but he didn’t have cell phone coverage and he’s never been seen since.”
Making matters worse, the women had not packed for the conditions. They had an umbrella and tennis shoes along with a light pack and little food and water.
“They obviously didn’t look into the area they were going into,” Jardine said. “They never anticipated they were going hiking up to a mountaintop and going to spend the night out.”
“If they had done some background research they may have saved everybody a good night’s sleep.”
The team found the women at about 3 a.m. and hiked for about five hours to a helipad below the cloud cover, where they were able to airlift the women out.
With the weather getting cooler and wetter now that fall is on the way, Jardine said the rescue highlights the importance of telling someone where you’re going, knowing the terrain and packing properly.
With the days getting ever shorter, he added, hikers need to be realistic about how much ground they can cover while it’s still light out.
“If you’re hiking uphill for four hours you can’t continue hiking uphill to get to your car. Common sense would tell you you’re going to have to turn around and go downhill,” Jardine said.
“Somehow they missed that point.”