Hikers trapped in snowstorm rescued from Okanagan Mountain Park - InfoNews

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Hikers trapped in snowstorm rescued from Okanagan Mountain Park

Image Credit: COSAR
March 29, 2020 - 12:43 PM

Central Okangan Search and Rescue crews rescued two hikers from near the summit of Okanagan Mountain Park last night.

At 9:30 p.m. COSAR was contacted by the RCMP to rescue two hikers near the cell towers at the summit, according to COSAR in a news release.

The two hikers, men in their mid-20s, had been out since 9:30 a.m. and were caught by surprise when a snowstorm blew in and obscured the already hard-to-find Baker Lake trail, acccording to the news release.

"The pair bushwhacked to a cell tower, hunkered down away from the high winds in the leeward side and called for help," according to the release.

A dozen COSAR members responded. To minimize exposure due to COVID-19, COSAR sent a two-person team in with a track-equipped UTV. The remaining members, and a helicopter equipped with night vision in Penticton, were placed on standby.

Search manager Brian Stainsby said SAR teams are still available 24/7 during the pandemic, but suggests now is not the time for an epic adventure.

“The hikers were experienced, but the weather at the summit was different than in the valley bottom. The hikers were not prepared for the change in weather conditions, which led to the need of our assistance," he said in the news release.

The UTV team got within a kilometer of the hikers when the snowdrifts became impassable. The two searchers reached the hikers at 1:10 a.m. N95 masks were put on the two men and everyone returned to base by 2:30 a.m. The hikers were cold and very exhausted but otherwise OK.



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