Lost on Mount Hays, in below-zero temperatures, two female hikers were fortunate to have cell phone coverage to call for help late Saturday evening.
The combination of getting a late start on the Kiwanis Trail, being unaware of when the sunset would be, and planning to find the summit of Mount Hays in the dark without flashlights or navigation equipment resulted in the need to dispatch the Prince Rupert Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) team.
First, the hikers called the Prince Rupert RCMP at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 18.
“They were instructed to stay put and we activated search and rescue and their resources headed up Mount Hays. The ability to contact them by cell phone was huge in this case,” Const. Brian Donaldson said.
Four GSAR members responded to the call and proceeded to the mountain with two trucks. They made a plan from there and hit the trail at 10 p.m.
“Utilizing our local knowledge of the old trail networks on top of the mountain we were able to formulate a plan to give us the easiest route, it follows a network of old cross country ski trails. Then, we were able to use our tracking skills to track them print for print,” Erik Brooke, president of Prince Rupert GSAR said.
They found the hikers at midnight, and they were back at the two trucks by 2 a.m.
GSAR transferred the two individuals to the RCMP and the BC Ambulance Service at the base of the mountain. The women had no injuries, Brooke said, but they were not prepared to spend the night.
Prince Rupert Ground Search and Rescue on the Kiwanis Trail tracking two hikers lost on Mount Hays late Saturday evening, on Feb. 18. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY PRINCE RUPERT GSAR.