Hikers rescued off British Columbia’s ‘Mystery Mountain’ after rock fall hits one

Access helicopters transported members of Bella Coola Valley Search and Rescue to a remote area near Mount Waddington to rescue two hikers on July 29. (Photo submitted)
When one of the two hikers was injured by a rock fall on Mount Waddington on July 29, the two sent a SPOT/Inreach notification, alerting rescuers to their location between Serra Peak 4 and 5. (Submitted Image)When one of the two hikers was injured by a rock fall on Mount Waddington on July 29, the two sent a SPOT/Inreach notification, alerting rescuers to their location between Serra Peak 4 and 5. (Submitted Image)

On Friday July 29, two hikers were rescued from a remote area near Mount Waddington after one was injured by a rock fall.

The mountain, originally known as “Mystery Mountain” even before it was climbed, is the highest peak in British Columbia’s Coast Mountains.

The two hikers were climbing between Serra 4 and 5 peaks near Mount Waddington at around 11,000 feet on Friday afternoon when a rockfall hit a climber’s arm and leg, according to a Bella spokesperson. Coola Valley Search and Rescue (BCVSAR).

When the couple realized the injured climber had a large gash that was bleeding profusely, they activated their SPOT/Inreach SOS satellite devices to notify emergency responders of their location and their need for assistance.

“The location is extremely remote, located almost equidistant from the SAR response areas of Bella Coola, Campbell River and West Chilcotin,” the BCVSR spokesperson said. “The climbers were at approximately 11,000 feet when the incident occurred.”

Upon receipt of the satellite notification, RCMP alerted search and rescue services and the group was paged at 2:09 p.m.

The private helicopter company Access Helicopters had a craft operating in the Bella Coola area and was able to transport a first team of rescuers.

Their task was to make visual or actual contact with the climbers to rescue them with a hover exit/entry, assess and treat injuries, or if they could not, formulate an alternate plan.

Upon arrival at the hikers’ coordinates, the team spotted the two nestled between Serra 4 and 5 peaks.

The pilot deemed hover exit/entry too difficult with the weight on board and a staging area was selected nearby.

All equipment was removed from the helicopter, and two of the three rescuers were left to tend to the equipment and receive the injured climber if the helicopter was able to reach them.

The pilot was able to gain access to the injured climber with the remaining member of the rescue team on board, and returned each person to the staging point where the injured climber was treated and his leg immobilized for transport.

Upon returning to the Bella Coola airport, the injured hiker was handed over to BC Emergency Health Services around 6:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, July 27, BCVSAR rescues another stranded hiker from Mount Nusatsum.


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