SAR crews pluck hiker from Little Mountain cliff

By Ian Holmes
October 15, 2018 - 4:33pm Updated: October 16, 2018 - 8:42am

A hiker had to be rescued from the back side of Little Mountain in Errington after being unable to make it up the steep terrain. YouTube/Tom Torraville

ERRINGTON — A man was stranded on a Little Mountain cliff for more than an hour with nothing but a tree root and rock to hold his footing above an estimated 65-foot fall.

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue president Nick Rivers said the middle-aged tourist from China was scooped from his precarious perch late Monday morning. He said the hiker did the right thing and called for help after being unable to make it up the steep slope on the back side of Little Mountain.

“He got about a third of the way up and got stuck," Rivers said. "He wasn't able to to go down, unable to go up. It was almost vertical terrain.”

Rivers retrieved the man by rapelling 140 feet down in a harness, while several  of Rivers' colleagues pulled the pair to safety.

“He actually had not too bad of a time on the way up,” Rivers said of the frightened, but uninjured hiker. “I got a couple laughs out of him which was nice.”

Rivers said it was a tricky technical rescue, citing the hiker's lack of stable footing as a primary concern.

“We don't want to put ourselves in a position where someone would instinctively reach out and grab for you and maybe knock him off his unstable footing.”

Two other hikers in the party made it to the top of the mountain without incident.

Rivers said the scenario served as a good reminder for hikers to know their limitations.

“It's easy to keep looking up the trail and seeing 'Oh I can keep going, I can make that.' But look down the trail and say 'If I go up there could I could down from there?' That helps people from getting stuck in certain positions.”

Rivers said the rescued hiker did not have any specialized equipment, but noted the path the man took didn't appear to be as steep from the bottom.


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