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It's still winter in B.C.'s North Shore mountains, North Shore Rescue warns

A hiker was rescued this week on North Vancouver's Grouse Mountain after running into trouble on icy terrain.
Grouse spring snow NSR
North Shore Rescue came to the aid of a hiker stranded in treacherous terrain on Grouse Mountain this week.

Spring may be breaking out below, but it’s still winter in the mountains, North Shore Rescue is reminding hikers.

The warning this weekend came after rescue crews were called out Wednesday evening in North Vancouver when a 44-year-old North Shore woman became stuck in treacherous terrain.

The woman started her hike up Grouse Mountain late in the afternoon on a trail known as the Flint and Feather – to the east of the Grouse Grind – according to search manager Al McMordie.

But she became disoriented and ended up on a different trail she wasn’t familiar with, said McMordie.

North Shore trails are tricky in spring

“The trails are not as obvious as they are in the summer time,” he said. “Some places you run up against these cliffs and you can’t get around them. She got stuck in a very treacherous icy area.”

The hiker managed to get a call out to 911 with just two per cent left on her cell phone battery. From that call, searchers were able to use her phone co-ordinates to pinpoint her location.

Two North Shore Rescue crews went up the Grouse gondola and hiked down the trail, where they found the woman about two-thirds of the way up, at about the 800-metre level. The teams assisted the hiker up the trail.

McMordie said the woman was relatively well equipped and was wearing micro spikes, but didn’t have supportive hiking shoes on.

Hikers run into trouble often in May and June

He added May and June are traditionally months when it’s easy for hikers to get in over their heads. “People think ‘Oh it’s a nice sunny day let’s go for a hike in the mountains.’ People head up in their running shoes,” he said.

But they quickly discover that in the upper elevations, “It’s still full on winter,” he said.