A pair of hikers were rescued from a remote area near Mount Waddington on Friday (July 29) after one of them was injured by a falling rock.
The mountain, originally known as “Mystery Mountain” before it had ever been climbed, is the highest peak in B.C.’s Coast Mountains.
On Friday afternoon, the two hikers were climbing between Serra peak 4 and 5 near Mount Waddington at about 11,000 feet when a falling rock struck one climber’s arm and leg, according to a spokesperson with Bella Coola Valley Search and Rescue (BCVSAR).
When the pair 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 need for aid.
“The location is extremely remote, located near-equidistant to Bella Coola, Campbell River, and West Chilcotin SAR response areas,” said the BCVSR spokesperson. “The climbers were at roughly 11,000-feet elevation when the incident occurred.”
Upon receiving the satellite notification, the RCMP alerted search and rescue and the group was paged out at 2:09 p.m.
Private helicopter company Access Helicopters had a machine operating in the area of Bella Coola and was able to transport the an initial team of rescuers.
Their task was to make visual or actual contact with the climbers to either rescue with hover exit/entry, assess and treat injuries, or if unable to do so, formulate another plan.
On arrival at the hikers’ coordinates, the team spotted the two nested between Serra peaks 4 and 5.
The pilot deemed the hover exit/entry too difficult with the weight onboard and a staging area was selected nearby.
All equipment was removed from the helicopter, and two of the three rescuers were left to attend 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 rescue team member onboard, and ferried each person back to the staging point where the injured hiker was treated and had his leg immobilized for transport.
Upon return to the Bella Coola airport the injured hiker was handed off to BC Emergency Health Services at approximately 6:30 p.m.
On Wednesday July 27, BCVSAR rescue another distressed hiker from Mount Nusatsum.