100 hikers ignore Grouse Grind avalanche warnings
Published Sunday, December 16, 2012 7:25PM PST
Search and rescue officials say they caught roughly 100 people disregarding avalanche warning signs at the popular Grouse Grind trail Sunday.
Tim Jones of North Shore Rescue said the hikers had to deliberately pass by multiple big, bright signs with bold lettering in order to pursue their ill-advised recreational activities.
“There’s warnings posted on the gate, up on the trail, everywhere,” Jones said. “They don’t care. And they should understand that they’re putting other people at risk.”
One such sign warns that no one is allowed to travel on the Grouse Grind under any circumstances, for risk of avalanches, slippery and icy conditions, unpredictable weather and potential debris flows.
There are also no patrols or maintenance workers on site.
Jones said the hikers may have a false sense of security because the mountain borders on North Vancouver.
“They think that they’re so close to civilization and help that everything’s going to be fine. It’s simply not the case, believe me.”
Jones pointed to the January 1999 avalanche on the Grind that caught five hikers, killing one and injuring the rest.
“I was one of the first guys on scene,” Jones said. “We were totally exposed and we had people that were injured, we had people that were trapped, we had people that were buried and we almost got hit ourselves.”
“You might as well be 100 miles out of Vancouver when you’re down there.”
Authorities say recent cold weather has created treacherous conditions in the backcountry areas, and they urge all skiers and hikers to respect warnings and check conditions before going out.