A 61-year-old man suffered serious injuries after falling nearly 20 metres down Mount Seymour Saturday, but rescue crews say it could have been much worse.

North Shore Rescue confirmed late Sunday afternoon that a crew had been deployed to an area near the top of the mountain known as Tim Jones Peak, named for the late rescue team leader.

Two rescue team members had to hover exit the aircraft because it couldn’t land, according to North Shore Rescue spokesman Jim Loree.

When they reached the injured hiker, they knew the only way to get him out of the freezing-cold area was to use a long-line extraction via helicopter.

“The subject had fallen and there were clearly concerns about spinal immobilization,” Loree said. “He’d been sitting there for quite a while, he was cold and he was in relatively rough shape.”

With light fading and the clock ticking, crews had to use a spine board to transport the hiker out of the area before it was too late.

“Had we not been able to get him out by the means we did, it could’ve been an all-night rescue,” Loree said. “We had about a minute left of light to spare by the time we landed here for the helicopter to legally fly, so we were really, really tight on this one.”

The hiker was placed on a stretcher and rushed to hospital with serious injuries.

North Shore Rescue said he was hiking when he slipped and fell nearly 20 metres. Rescue officials say he may not have been properly dressed for the cold weather.

Follow @CTVVancouver for up-to-the-minute breaking news updates.