Revelstoke Search & Rescue search manager Wally Mohn helped the Times Review summarize search events that occurred over a two-week period in late December and early January, offering up some advice for backcountry users.
Search & Rescue responded to a total of six incidents over a period from Dec. 27 to Jan. 9.
Dec. 29: Four Revelstoke SAR members responded to a report of a possible stranded female using a non-traceable cell phone somewhere north of Blanket Creek Provincial Park. RCMP eventually stood down the SAR team after no evidence of a stranded person was found.
Jan. 3: Seven Revelstoke SAR members responded to assist four lost snowmobilers on Boulder Mountain. SAR relayed directions to a nearby cabin for shelter, where the group stayed overnight and emerged the next day.
Jan. 6: One SAR member was contacted about three overdue skiers in the Albert Canyon area. The skiers walked out on their own overnight.
Jan. 6: 23 SAR members responded to search for a missing snowboarder, who was out with another rider on a single snowmobile on Boulder Mountain. They got separated and the other rider reported his partner missing. Mohn said the boarder took appropriate steps after realizing he was lost, creating a temporary snow shelter to shield him from the cold night. He was found in good condition and rescued the next morning. Mohn said the big response was due to especially cold conditions that night.
Jan. 8: A female skier got lost after going out-of-bounds at Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s southern area. She was located uninjured and lifted out using a helicopter and long line. Mohn said this incident highlighted the dangers of ducking the ropes in the southern areas of the resort that lead towards and include the Montana Creek drainage.
It’s easy to misjudge your location and get drawn down the hill. Once you are too far committed down into the drainage, it is nearly impossible to get back up. And “the chances of working your way out are extremely difficult,” said Mohn, who described a brutal and exhausting slog through deep snow, trees and creek beds that takes hours upon hours – if you can do it at all.
There is some question if the female was skiing or snowboarding.
Jan. 9: A repeat of the Jan. 8 incident. A female snowboarder got separated from a male companion in the Montana Creek drainage. She did eventually manage to walk out and was in good condition.