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Posted: August 5, 2019

Busy summer so far for CVSAR

Columbia Valley Search and Rescue

Midsummer Report

Findlay Creek Search

On Thursday, August 1, Columbia Valley Search and Rescue (CVSAR) was requested to assist RCMP with searching for a missing fisherman on Findlay Creek. Mutual aid from Kimberley was requested due to the location and a strong history of working together in the area. Prior to SAR arrival on scene, the involved party was reunited after becoming separated on the river.

Bugaboo Rescue

On Tuesday, July 30, a climber suffered a separated shoulder and a request went out for SAR response. Golden and District SAR (GADSAR) received the initial notification but was going to be delayed due to helicopter availability. GADSAR then requested CVSAR assistance and two members flew with Coldstream Helicopters to the location. A guide on scene and two other CVSAR volunteers who were in the area had prepared the injured climber and moved him to a suitable landing site. The climber, from Britain, was flown back to Invermere where care was transferred to BC Ambulance. CVSAR would like to thank Canadian Mountain Holidays and the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) hut custodian for their assistance in coordinating this response and providing important information.

Larix Lake Rescue

On Friday, July 12, a hiking group came across someone who had been injured in a fall near Larix Lake, which is located on the B.C. side of the B.C./Alberta border near Sunshine Meadows.  The group activated their SPOT beacon which initiated a response. A Sunshine (resort) employee then happened upon the incident and initiated an internal rescue. Once CVSAR realized the location of the incident and proximity to the Alberta border and Sunshine, Parks Canada Visitor Safety was contacted and it indicated that the internal rescue was underway.  CVSAR continued preparing a response to ensure that there was not a second incident in a similar location. Once confirmation was received from Sunshine that the injured party had been evacuated, CVSAR stood down.

Lake of the Hanging Glacier/Bugaboo SPOT activation

On Thursday, July 4, RCMP was notified of an Inreach activation (SPOT) with a message saying “help now” and requested SAR assistance. The location was initially in the Lake of the Hanging Glacier area but then appeared to be closer to the Bugaboos. As CVSAR was responding, RCMP received further information indicating that it was a mechanical breakdown. CVSAR returned to base.

Cobalt Lake Overdue Hikers

On Monday, July 1, a concerned friend contacted RCMP indicating that a party of three was overdue following a hike to Cobalt Lake in the Bugaboos. CMH Bugaboo Lodge was contacted and was able to confirm that the subject’s vehicle was not in any of the local trailhead parking areas. CVSAR set up containment on the access road and flew over the area and other nearby trails. The overdue party then returned to cell service and contacted family who notified the RCMP that they were safe. The party never did attempt the Cobalt Lake Trail, reinforcing the importance of leaving a detailed trip plan with a responsible person and being aware of the remoteness and lack of communication in the B.C. backcountry.

Pinto Mountain deceased hiker found

These incidents highlight the cooperation between various SAR teams, private companies, and other agencies.

CVSAR can be requested to assist with events anywhere in the province but are also able to bring in resources when needed locally. SAR teams respond to incidents in both the backcountry and urban settings and are counted on to assist during local states of emergency such as for wildfires or floods.

CVSAR would like to remind people to properly prepare and plan for their outings and leave a detailed trip plan with a responsible person.

CVSAR is entirely made up of volunteers or “unpaid professionals” and is funded through grants and donations.  CVSAR does not solicit donations by phone or door knocking but does accept donations online.

CVSAR’s primary response region stretches from Spillimacheen to Canal Flats and from the Alberta border to the height of land in the Purcell Mountains to the west.

Steve Talsma

SAR Manager/Vice President

Scott Chaffey

SAR Manager/President

Columbia Valley Search and Rescue


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