A member of the North Shore Rescue team has penned a blog aimed at ill-prepared hikers after witnessing scores of people on Mount Seymour's wintry trails dressed in flimsy street clothes
"It is winter on the mountains and apparently most people do not know this," wrote John Blown in a blog titled It's not Summer!
"Today was like nothing I've ever seen before," Blown added in an interview. "There were hundreds of people and the vast majority were wearing sneakers and street shoes and jeans and jogging pants.
"It's winter up there."
Blown said conditions on the mountain Wednesday were "bone-chilling cold" and the trails were covered with compact snow and ice. Yet many hikers weren't dressed for the wintry conditions. Some wore leather shoes with no treads or sneakers or cowboy boots, he wrote. And he saw some dressed in khaki or capri pants. Others were without gloves, hats or backpacks.
At one point, he says, Blown had to steer a disoriented hiker in the direction of the parking lot. He ran into two other North Shore Rescue volunteers who had also came to the assistance of hikers.
Blown said the volunteer rescue squad makes a point to speak publicly about wilderness safety, noting the group reaches about 50,000 people each year.
The scene on Seymour Wednesday left them all discouraged.
"We're feeling a bit frustrated and we're asking ourselves … what else can we do?"
North Shore Rescue has been unusually busy this year. Blown says the group has answered 128 calls so far in 2015. This time last year, they were at 78 calls.
"We do our best, but there is obviously still a lot of people out there who are not getting that message."