It is a constant source of amazement to me how people think that because a hiking trail is a) busy, and b) within sight of city lights, that it must be safe as a sidewalk. The straightest trail up Vancouver, British Columbia’s, Grouse Mountain — a rocky 2,400-ft vertical slog called the “Grouse Grind” by locals — meets both criteria … so it is usually a circus for search-and-rescue sorts.
Read the following press release from the frustrated folks at North Shore Search and Rescue, and then shake your head:
Grind hikers warned about the dark
HIKERS who want to climb the Grouse Grind in daylight are being reminded by North Shore Rescue that the trail closes at 5:30 p.m.
According to Tim Jones, rescue team spokesman, he and fellow rescuers had to assist no less than 17 hikers to get down the trail from below the half-way mark on Sunday – none of whom was carrying a light. “Among those 17 hikers was a six-year-old girl hiking the Grind by herself,” said Jones. “There was also a family of seven that included a 12-month-old baby and a three-year-old girl.”
Jones said he has concerns about parents taking small children on the trail and those who risk having to negotiate the trail after dark. “We’re asking parents to exercise common sense and we want to remind them that they absolutely need to carry a light and water,” Jones said. “The Grind is not a good place to be falling after dark. We’re asking parents to consider the risk they’re putting their kids at if they get stuck in the dark.”
Because all 17 of the hikers were ill-equipped, Jones said, rescue team members had to break into an emergency cache at the half-way mark of the trail to provide them with lights and light sticks.
“All of them told us that they knew the trail closed at 5:30,” he said. “but none of them had lights. These days, too many people are hiking up in daylight and finding themselves trying to get down in dark without lights,” he said.
“I can tell you that it gets very dark on the Grind by 7:30 p.m. and people are seriously misjudging the amount of time it will take them to get down.”