Hikers not deterred by higher avalanche risks
Published Wednesday, December 26, 2012 2:34PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 26, 2012 6:37PM PST
Despite increased avalanche threats on the North Shore mountains, hikers appear to continue to push the limits as they head up closed-off local trails.
The Canadian Avalanche Centre says the North Shore mountains are posing a “considerable” risk on Wednesday, as up to 50 centimetres of new snow has fallen in just the last few days. And even though reports of an avalanche earlier in the week turned out to be a false alarm, officials are still warning people to stay off the Grouse Grind, saying the risks are still high.
However, the repeated calls for people to stay away from out-of-bound trails appear to fall on some deaf ears. Several people were still seen on Wednesday heading up the Grouse Grind, which has been closed since the fall due to winter conditions.
The BCMC Trail is also officially closed, but that didn’t stop Bob Faulkner and his friend, who both came prepared with snow shoes, ice axes, crampons, space blankets and other safety gear. Despite his experience and preparations, Faulkner said he is aware that things can go sideways.
“Things will go wrong in the backcountry and if you’re not prepared, you’re going to get into a lot of trouble,” he said after completing the hike. “We prepare as much as we can.”
Other people though, are heeding the warnings entirely.
Jeff Prowse and his friend Rob Hajdu consider themselves experienced hikers, but neither of them would chance the Grouse Grind at this time of year. Instead, the two are taking the gondola up to the top of the mountain, and then hiking on opened trails.
“Going up the Grind in the winter is ridiculous,” said Prowse. “When it first opens, I go up there, and there’s still snow in the top, so going up in the winter, it’d be quite bad.”
Eric Stevenson, who is spending the day snow shoeing, says the Grouse Grind is very treacherous this time of year.
“It’s right on the side of the valley, so as you get the snow sitting on top of the that, the snow actually gives way above the trial itself, so you go sliding down the ravine,” he said. “Around up top, the trails are still opened, and you don’t run into that. It’s nice and flat, you’re sitting on the actual trail bed itself and…if you happen to slip, you don’t’ go too far.”
With files from CTV British Columbia’s Scott Hurst