Three men were airlifted out of steep terrain Monday morning after getting lost hiking near a lake north of Coquitlam.

The young Coquitlam men set out to complete a 12-hour hike around Buntzen Lake that they had completed once before, but eventually became disoriented.

“Encountered a lot of snow at the top, lost the trail markers, took the way down that we thought was the right way down,” said Seth Powell, one of the hikers. “We would’ve known it was the wrong way if we had our GPS with us.”

The trio ended up getting stuck in a steep cliffed area and realized in the early evening they needed to call for help, Powell said.

The group fortunately still had cell phone service available and a Coquitlam Search and Rescue crew soon arrived with extra clothes, food and emergency blankets.

“It was exemplary, their performance. It was really good,” Powell said.

He said next time he goes hiking in the area he’ll bring his GPS and extra clothing just to be safe.

“It wouldn’t have been good if these guys hadn’t found us and gotten us some clothes,” he said.

A helicopter pulled the three men to safety early Monday morning – nearly 24 hours after setting out on their hike. They say they won’t attempt the expedition again until the snow melts.

Coquitlam Search and Rescue manager Ray Nordstrand said a situation which could have gone very wrong was resolved quickly.

“I think that they’re lucky, you see that they’ve got shorts, so it was a cold night without having us get to them in time,” he said. “They’re gonna be heading back home now, so things went very well.”

Nordstrand recommended hikers be prepared when setting out on their trips by bringing warm clothes and being prepared for cold weather conditions.

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Nafeesa Karim