2 hikers with serious injuries rescued on North Shore

Rescue crews on the North Shore were able to airlift two injured hikers to safety after they were caught in a small avalanche Friday afternoon.

Stan Sovdat, search manager for North Shore Rescue, told CTV News the hikers were near the Cypress Bowl ski area and were able to call for help, but had a weak cellphone signal that made sharing information with rescuers difficult.

"We had to do some investigation to figure out where the people were," Sovdat said. "Both were more severely injured than anticipated."

He said both of the hikers had suffered head injuries. One of them also had a broken ankle, while the other had suffered a spinal injury. Both were taken to hospital.

Crews said the hikers were on the Howe Sound Crescent Trail near Mitten Gully when a piece of ice broke off, triggering the slide, which was made up mostly of chunks of ice.

It's a reminder of just how much snow is still present at higher elevations right now, Sovdat said.

"Today the hikers (were) noting just how deep the top layer is on the high mountain ridges," he said. "It's really wet and sinking up to your knees without snowshoes and even up to your thighs."

Sovdat said the cool, rainy spring in Metro Vancouver has led to fewer calls for North Shore Rescue, something he said has been "nice" for rescuers after a record-setting number of calls in 2021.

"I attribute it largely to the weather," he said. "The weather's been so bad, it's keeping people indoors, and I can see when the sun comes out our volume is going to start going up."