Kananaskis rescuers had their hands full with 16 calls over the Canada Day long weekend.
From June 30 to July 3, mountain rescue specialists responded to 10 overdue, lost or stranded parties, four medical or other injuries, one mutual aid call, and one reported drowning that ended up being a false alarm, said Alberta Parks spokesperson Bridget Burgess-Ferrari, noting the agency expects rescue calls to continue rising throughout the summer.
“We expect the number of calls will rise significantly from May to June, July and August as more Albertans and visitors spend time outdoors,” she said in an email.
“Throughout the month of May, the wildfire emergency situation across the province restricted or prevented many Albertans from engaging in camping and other outdoor activities.”
Kananaskis Mountain Rescue responded to 43 calls in June, compared to 19 in May.
Just before the long weekend, on June 29, the rescue agency was called to assist climbers stranded on Grillmair Chimney – a multi-pitch route on the south face of Mount Yamnuska.
The group was descending during a storm when their ropes became stuck.
“Two staff responded to the base of the cliff, climbed up to the subjects and then rappelled down with them to the base of the cliff,” reads an Instagram post from Kananaskis Mountain Rescue. “These types of calls highlight why we spend so much time training in technical terrain.
“Thankfully there were no injuries.”
The Outlook tried to arrange an interview with the rescue agency but was given a statement from Alberta Parks instead.
Burgess-Ferrari said no further details about the rescue would be shared to protect the privacy of those involved.
“Albertans are reminded that cellphone coverage is limited in Kananaskis Country and the Bow Valley,” she said. “Leave a detailed trip plan with a trusted loved one and stick to the plan to avoid an unnecessary response. Think of the plan as a contract – you have a responsibility to stick to it.
“If you are travelling in a group, stick together and hold each other accountable.”
A two-way satellite communication device is extremely valuable in case of emergency, she added.
“The majority of accidents happen on the way down – don’t take random shortcuts into unknown terrain in the hopes of saving a few minutes. When in the mountains, weather can change quickly. Check the forecast frequently and be prepared with extra clothing, food and water.”
By Jessica Lee, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Jul 07, 2023