Hikers need to be prepared to climb Mt. Cheam, and CSAR has some ideas that may help. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)

Snow still a factor in some B.C. mountains, warns search and rescue

Hiking in light summer clothing, without proper footwear or any survival gear is not recommended

Anyone climbing mountains in the B.C. back country right now should carefully consider the risks posed by the high snowpack levels.

The presence of snow requires certain safety precautions, according to Chilliwack Search and Rescue.

Hiking in light summer clothing, not wearing proper footwear or carrying any survival gear is not recommended, said Adam Laurie, vice-president and training officer with Chilliwack Search and Rescue (CSAR).

Proper footwear would be mid-cut to high-cut hiking boots with ankle support and good traction. Trail runners are not recommended for snow crossings or rocky terrain.

”Remember to carry the 10 essentials, be prepared for snow travel and make sure you tell someone where you’re going, what you’re doing and when your planned return time is. You can do this all using our online Trip Planner,” he added. “Be safe!”

Telling someone by email is the safety concept behind the trip planner idea.

Over the July 1 long weekend, CSAR members spotted groups of hikers climbing Mt. Cheam who were both prepared, “and unfortunately, not so prepared,” Laurie said.

Some had day packs with water and extra clothing as well as hiking poles for the snow, while others had almost nothing in terms of gear.

“The unprepared ones had no equipment, water, or extra clothing.”

Day hikers included families, couples and seniors. Some hiked in shorts and t-shirts, summer dresses, or running shoes that were unlaced.

“I would venture to say that about 25 per cent of the hikers over the weekend were at a higher risk of falls, injury, or requiring rescue at some point,” he said.

It show more education is needed for those entering the back country.

Mt. Cheam “is a classic and well sought-after hike,” Laurie noted, not only for the stunning alpine experience but also for the amazing 360-degree views from the summit.

The world-class hike attracts visitors from across the Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland.

The well-marked trail to Cheam makes the hike easy to navigate, but the “increased snowpack this year” is making the approach extra challenging in some spots. The snow only recently melted from the trailhead.

“There are many areas where the trail is still under snow and the adventurer will need traverse the snow fields to make his/her way to the saddle and summit.

There is snow on the ground as hikers enter the alpine meadow. But last year this time, there was no snow there. Lack of rain and cool overnight temperatures are slowing down the melting process.

“Believe it or not, this year the snow starts less than 20 minutes into the hike. This increases your risk and exposure to a potential fall, injury, or even death,” Laurie said.

CSAR reminds hikers to:

  • Dress for changing weather and colder climates;
  • Bring hiking poles for snow travel; and
  • Wear appropriate footwear for snow crossings and mountainous terrain.

Just Posted

Bladder dam being installed in West Kelowna

The city is installing a bladder dam on the west side of Gellatly Road

Supreme Court of Canada ruling a “missed opportunity” for B.C. wineries

B.C. Wine Institute and its members disappointed about ruling on interprovincial trade

Blind Kelowna athlete wins grappling gold

Michelle Jorgensen takes her division at her first ever tournament in Kamloops

Love of records enduring for Kelowna vinyl fan

John Gowland’s record collection dates back to 1950s

Armstrong youth confronts diabetes adversity

Trevor Kennedy, 16, has coped with type 1 diabetes for nine years

VIDEO: Work is play for this B.C. avalanche rescue dog

CARDA certified Joss’s Job is to save lives — but to her, it’s all a game

Police investigate suspicious Armstrong incident

Man in older model truck allegedly approached young girl in neighbourhood; asked if she wanted ride

Black Press Media acquires two new Alaska newspapers

New Media Investment Group to acquire the Akron (OH) Beacon Journal while Black Press Media takes on daily newspapers in Juneau and Kenai Alaska

Arrest made in machete attack

Chase man to face charges, victim airlifted to hospital with injured hand

B.C. towns rank in top honeymoon destination worldwide

Vernon, Kaslo, Sunshine Coast and the Island hit Expedia.ca’s list of top 18 honeymoon destinations

Men arrested at Starbucks say they feared for their lives

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks, becoming viral video

Olympic gold now official for B.C. weightlifter

Christine Girard’s bronze medal from 2012 Olympics upgraded to gold, IOC announces

Did a Canadian shoot down the Red Baron? A century later, debate hasn’t quit

Om April 21, 1918 two Canadians in their canvas-covered Sopwith Camel biplanes engaged the enemy

VIDEO: Canadian teen lands invite to Royal wedding

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have invited Faith Dickinson, founder of Cuddles for Cancer

Most Read