It took a joint effort by rescuers and helicopter crews to get a climber with a broken leg off very steep terrain on Yak Peak the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 1.
A video from yesterday's mutual aid call for the injured climber on #YakPeak. Thanks again Valley Helicopters Ltd. & Chilliwack Search and Rescue
Rescuers from Hope Volunteer Search and Rescue, Chilliwack Search and Rescue and Valley Helicopters worked together to remove the climber. Hope’s rescue team praised both Chilliwack’s helicopter external transport system (HETS) team members and the helicopter pilot in safely transporting the patient to a waiting ambulance.
“Big thank you to Valley Helicopters Ltd. for the pilot’s incredible skills and our neighboring (Chilliwack Search and Rescue) team,” Hope SAR wrote in a Facebook update.
Yak Peak, located in the Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area, is an awe-inspiring and easily recognizable granite face popular with climbers and hikers. At 2,040 metres the peak is the highest along the Zopkios Ridge, with 839 metres of elevation gain according to climbing website summitpost.org.
Photos from Hope SAR show the injured climber about halfway up the peak in an area without a place for an aircraft to land. Chilliwack rescuers use their HETS team for situations like this, which would otherwise be too risky or inaccessible using other rescue methods.
A rescuer, attached to a longline which is connected to the body of a helicopter, swoops into the inaccessible area where the patient is. The patient is then picked up and transported together with the rescuer to safety. Chilliwack is one of only four volunteer search and rescue organizations with a HETS capability, according to chilliwacksar.org.
The rescue was the second call for Hope SAR Saturday, as a team was sent out just after 1 p.m. for a possible car accident on the Coquihalla Highway near Carolin Mine. The rescue was called off after the BC Ambulance Service scanned the area and found no vehicle. Minutes after returning to base, the call for the injured climber came in.