Obey: North Shore rescuers want compliance, not fines
North Shore Rescue is pleading with the public to stay in-bounds on local mountains and to stay off closed trails — including North Vancouver's Grouse Grind.
Searchers spent much of Sunday responding to a potential avalanche that turned out to be debris from a tree that fell alongside the trail.
Tim Jones, speaking for North Shore Rescue, said that volunteers were concerned that a hiker might have been buried in the snow slide even though the trail is officially closed.
"This is their big Stairmaster, right? This is their workout and, like, mother nature is interfering with their workout," he said.
Search and rescue teams have had multiple, exhausting searches in the snow this past week.
A snowboarder was rescued Tuesday, two days after going out-of-bounds from the Cypress ski area. Another snowboarder who went out of Cypress Bowl Saturday afternoon was located, alive and well, down a steep ravine Sunday.
Jones hopes the news of those dramatic rescues would be of help in reminding mountain and trail users to stay safe, and to say in safe areas.
"I don't know what it's going to take," Jones said.
"It's probably going to be a fatality, maybe [of] one of them, maybe [of] one of us that's going to wake people up," he said.
Jones says the Grouse Grind can be as busy in the winter as it is in the summer — although climbers have to skirt the 'trail closed' fence to get onto the trail at this time of year.
Ken Juvik, who works for Metro Vancouver in managing the Grouse Grind trail, said it is frustrating that people continue to ignore the closed main gate and bright 'closed' signs.
"It's a real conundrum. We can't fence the whole mountain," Juvik said.
"It becomes a broader issue: How to manage these people that clearly can't abide by the rules and [who] endanger other people at the same time," he said.
There are no fines for climbing the Grind when it's closed, and authorities and officials want to keep it that way.
Juvik said if people expect to face fines or punishment upon rescue, they may hesitate to call for help.
Jones said North Shore Rescue has encountered people who evade rescue, or who have family members who launch their own rescue attempts because they're worried about the repercussions of being caught where they're not supposed to go.
With files from the CBC's Chad Pawson