By John Blown
Yesterday, April 23 at 6:30pm NSR was called out in response to a 911 call of 6 stranded hikers on Grouse Mountain. Initially the hikers believed they were on the backside of Crown Mountain, however, after contact was made with NSR, some discussion with the SAR Manager, and receiving GPS coordinates it was determined that they were on the front side of Grouse Mountain in Crown Creek.
A NSR team was deployed within a few minutes in a helicopter and the hikers were spotted relatively quickly in a deep gully. The decision was made to initiate HETS (long line extraction).
The chopper returned to our Cap Gate SAR station and was quickly rigged for HETS. The 6 were long lined out two at a time, and the rescue was brought to a close around 9pm.
The quick spotting of the subjects by NSR members in the chopper and the HETS operation turned the rescue into a relatively quick one. Otherwise ,without spotting them quickly or HETS capability this would have turned into a long rescue requiring a large amount of resources.
To the subjects credit they called early allowing NSR to operate in daylight, which dramatically increases recovery time and safety. If they had called after sunset, or close to sunset they likely would have been stuck out most of the night.
Please note winter conditions still exist in the mountains.