The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)

B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

The recent death of a 21-year-old Instagram influencer and a surge in rescues in the North Shore have sparked concerns about unequipped hikers tackling B.C.’s tumultuous mountain terrain.

North Shore Rescue search manager Doug Pope said during the COVID-19 pandemic, tourists and locals have taken to the outdoors instead of travelling out of province.

“They’re buying snowshoes and trying to go for a hike in the mountains,” Pope explained.

Such a plan comes with its dangers though: “Right now, the North Shore mountains are very hard and icy. There are a lot of dangers.”

It’s something the world witnessed with news of the SAR team’s recovery of Nikki Donnelly’s body on a trail near Cypress Mountain last Friday.

The Instagram influencer was snowshoeing a popular hiking trail, leading up to St. Mark’s summit.

“A lot of people don’t realize that after the first kilometre of trail, you’re crossing through all avalanche pass,” Pope stressed, “which can be deadly.”

As well, fresh snow makes the trail harder to follow, he added. Which seemed to be the case with Donnelly, who called her boyfriend on Jan. 15, alerting him that she was lost.

Mishaps, including being unprepared for the weather conditions, have resulted in a significant influx of calls to the North Shore Rescue team – with 151 recorded in 2019.

In the previous year, the team saw only 144 calls for help made. The total number of calls for 2020 has not yet been totalled.

READ MORE: Night-vision goggles to support search and rescue on North Shore

“People who go beyond the ski resort areas at places and mountains including Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress, are in areas without cell phone reception,” Pope warned.

Satellite beacons to call for help, proper hiking shoes with spikes, clamp-ons, and even an ice axe can be essential tools during North Shore treks in the winter.

“Knowing when to turn around in those situations is also an important thing to think about,” Pope said.

“Follow your own footsteps back if you think you’ve gotten off-course.”

On Tuesday (Jan. 19), the North Shore Rescue team extracted a Vancouver couple who called 911 after slipping on a portion of Tim Jones Peak on their way to the top of Mount Seymour.

Pope said the traverse has caused significant injuries to people who have fallen, including broken legs, a broken neck and other head injuries.

Luckily, the couple was rescued without serious harm.



sarahleonagrochowski@gmail.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BC ParksDeathHikingSearch and Rescue

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Rossland Scouts Community Hall is directing a Trust grant into upgrading the building’s energy efficiency. Photo: Columbia Basin Trust
Columbia Basin Trust helps scouts hall become energy efficient

Columbia Basin Trust grants $18, 250 for Rossland Scouts Hall upgrades

FILE - This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021 cleared a Johnson Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two (Johnson Johnson via AP)
Six weeks with no new COVID-19 cases in Trail

The latest localized BC CDC COVID-19 numbers

Trail and Rossland are sending in a joint application to bid on the 2026 BC Winter Games.
Trail-Rossland support 2026 BC Winter Games bid

The Greater Trail communities hosted the event in 1996 and 2006

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Most Read