Pam and Brian Smith of Maple Ridge hiked up to Alder Flats and the Lookout in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past weekend, prepared for the mild winter conditions they encountered. (Ron Paley/Special to The News)

Pam and Brian Smith of Maple Ridge hiked up to Alder Flats and the Lookout in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past weekend, prepared for the mild winter conditions they encountered. (Ron Paley/Special to The News)

VIDEO: Avalanche danger increases on Golden Ears as weather improves

Search and rescue team and outdoor enthusiast offer tips for those heading out into the backcountry

Nice weather in recent days is drawing more hikers out onto the trails at Golden Ears Provincial Park, prompting a safety reminder from the local search team and an outdoor enthusiast.

Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue members have been at Alder Flats and Evan’s Valley in recent weeks, and watched a number of avalanches coming off the high ridges that have been, what search team leader Rick Laing describes as, “impressive and awe-inspiring.”

But while he continues to be wowed by the power of Mother Nature, he noted the danger to most local hikers remains low – depending on what parts of the park people are venturing into.

“For the most part, we don’t have too much concern with avalanche danger,” Laing said, “as most of the high-risk areas are out of reach for the casual day hiker. Where the dangers lie are obviously in the higher alpine – such as Golden Ears, which doesn’t see as much use due to access time and the park gate hours.”

Evan’s Valley is another high potential area for avalanches. Those alpine areas are currently considered as “moderate” danger, rising to “considerable” later this week as the warm weather continues to melt the snow pack, Laing said.

“People travelling into the mountains need to have both the proper equipment and proper training for travelling in and through avalanche terrain,” he advised.

RECENT: Injured hiker rescued from Golden Ears park

Even while travelling in treeline areas, proper equipment and the knowledge to use it is important, Laing encouraged.

Depending on snow conditions, footwear might include either snowshoes or micro spikes for safe travel on trails.

And, Laing said, hikers should always check for current conditions and make themselves aware of travel routes, which includes checking for avalanche danger updates online at avalanche.ca.

RELATED: Maple Ridge back-country deadly during avalanche season, but difficult to get to

Local outdoor enthusiast Ron Paley was up to Alder Flats and the Lookout in Golden Ears on Saturday and shared a similar warning, having heard and seen at least four avalanches during a 4.5-hour, 14.2 km trek half way up to the summit.

“We watched from a distance, four good avalanches that happened while we had a break in the sunshine,” Paley said.

“The avalanches were medium size and were hard to see because of shade and sunlight against the mountain. You could definitely hear them,” he said, noting he made the trek with fellow West Maple Ridge residents and fellow outdoor enthusiasts Pam and Brian Smith.

Not surprising, they encountered snow and ice in the upper region of their hike, and were grateful to have their crampons with them.

“Good to have with you just in case,” Paley said.

Starting out of the East Canyon parking lot at 9 a.m., he described the temperatures as cool, encountering their first sections of ice and spots of deep snow about six kilometres in. But by the time they reached Alder Flats, and took the further 20-minute trek over to the Lookout, he said the sun was high in the sky and temperatures had risen to 12C.

“Beyond [that point] the snow conditions get worse,” Paley said, noting they weren’t willing to trek further. “From our location we were safe to watch any avalanches that were happening… I always make sure we stay safe, whether it’s just me or people with me.”

He recommended all hikers carry liquids and enough supplies in case they are injured and need to spend the night.

“Just be sensible and plan your trip. Always make sure you leave a detailed map of where you are going, and leave it with someone who will know when you are expected back,” he said.

“People don’t realized conditions can change anytime. Layer up your clothing for the conditions,” Paley added, also suggesting participation with outdoor clubs, such as the Ridge Meadows Outdoor Club, is helpful.

“I am a member. They have many experienced people who can help you learn safety… By doing your part you prevent endangering our local Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue members. They are a dedicated SAR group that always have your back.

“I remember while building the Golden Ears emergency shelter back in late September 2002, how conditions can change. People below were enjoying their sunny day and we had a freak snowstorm come in. Mother Nature always lets you know who the boss is,” Paley said.

“Enjoy the backcountry for its beauty but remember, go prepared!”

In the meantime, the outdoor club is reportedly looking for volunteers to assist with trail work in Golden Ears Provincial Park. Those interested can contact Alan at trailwork@rmoutdoorclub.ca.

RELATED: 2020 one of the busiest years for Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue


Have a story tip? Email: editor@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

AvalancheMaple RidgeSearch and Rescue

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Ron Paley and his neighbours headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. He offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Ron Paley and his neighbours headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. He offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Hikers headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. Among them was Ron Paley who took this photo and offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Hikers headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. Among them was Ron Paley who took this photo and offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Pam and Brian Smith of Maple Ridge hiked up to Alder Flats and the Lookout in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past weekend, prepared for the mild winter conditions they encountered. (Ron Paley/Special to The News)

Pam and Brian Smith of Maple Ridge hiked up to Alder Flats and the Lookout in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past weekend, prepared for the mild winter conditions they encountered. (Ron Paley/Special to The News)

Ron Paley and his neighbours headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. He offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Ron Paley and his neighbours headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. He offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Ron Paley and his neighbours headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. He offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Ron Paley and his neighbours headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. He offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Ron Paley and his neighbours headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. He offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Ron Paley and his neighbours headed up the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park this past Saturday, March 13. He offers some safety tips for those considering a similar trek. (Special to The News)

Just Posted

Kelly Ng (left) tries to get the attention of Podzol and Aquila as twin sister, Pauline Ng, snaps a photo of the two dogs by a field of hyacinths at the Chilliwack Tulips attraction on April 13. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
PHOTOS: Strolling through tulips, hyacinths and daffodils at Chilliwack Tulips attraction

Colourful spring flower attraction opened on the weekend in Chilliwack, continues into May

Cannabis plants visible under bright lights inside a large facility at Shxwha:y Village on July 6, 2018. The reserve was home to the licensed producer for Indigenous Bloom, which opened up a dispensary on the Kwaw-Kwaw-Apilt reserve. On April 12, 2021, Shxwha:y announced Health Canada approval for a licensed production facility at the village. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack’s Shxwha:y First Nation approved for cannabis cultivation and processing facility

It will be the first majority-owned Indigenous on-reserve licensed facility in Western Canada

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including South Surrey’s Pacific Highway should ‘not be left behind’

Bat Packs are the newest addition to the FVRL Playground, and have everything you need to learn more about bats, and track them in your neighbourhood. (FVRL image)
Bat Packs at Fraser Valley libraries come with echometer to track bats

Packs are the newest part of the FVRL Playground inventory

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversay of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
UPDATE: 1 of 3 puppies stolen from South Surrey returned to owner

American Bulldog puppy recovered after being sold at Mission car show

Two women walk past ‘The Meeting’ sculptures in White Rock’s Miramar Plaza Wednesday afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
New public art in White Rock faces criticism as the ‘two Michaels’ remain in China’s custody

‘I would encourage people to go out and enjoy it’ said Vancouver Biennale founder

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Everett Cummings in a tribute video posted to dignitymemorial.com.
Mechanic’s death at Fraser Surrey Docks leads to $200K fine for company, union says

Photos of rally outside Surrey court posted on ILWU’s ‘Kill A Worker Go To Jail’ Facebook page

Most Read