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1 dead, 2 rescued in separate backcountry emergencies near Golden

2 backcountry skiiers found stranded on a cliff in Yoho National Park

RCMP is reminding people planning to go into the backcountry this winter to “expect the best, but be prepared for the worst” after one death and a separate rescue near Golden this week.

In the first incident, Golden-Field RCMP received an emergency SOS activation on Jan. 21 around 5 p.m. from a Zoleo device in a backcountry area near Frigate Mountain in Donald, B.C.

Six snowmobilers were heading back to the Hope Creek Snowmobile Staging Area after a day of sledding when one of them left the trail down a steep embankment and hit some trees. The victim, a 24-year-old man, died on impact.

Police say his friends called for help, and Golden-Field RCMP activated the local search-and-rescue team to the remote area which took several hours to arrive by land.

The deceased man was extracted around 1 a.m. and transferred to BC Coroners Service. Police investigated alongside the coroner, who has now taken over the investigation.

“The group was very well prepared for their backcountry adventure; they had all the right gear, they were experienced riders, and even with all these measures in place, sometimes things still go wrong,” Const. Kat Robinson said. “We are lucky to have such a skilled Search and Rescue team that was able to access this remote location the same night and provide some closure for the young man’s family.”

The following day, the detachment received another emergency activation, this time to Emerald Peak in Yoho National Park.

Banff Parks Dispatch was called and a team of Parks Canada Mountain Safety Specialists was deployed. They attempted to send out a helicopter before it got dark, but police say “unfortunately they got fogged in.”

The mountain safety specialists sent a search party by land and found two backcountry skiers, both 25-year-old men, who had become stranded on a cliff and were unable to continue on.

RCMP say the team was able to extract one skier that night, while other search-and-rescue members remained and set up camp on the mountain with the second skier overnight. They were extracted by helicopter the following day.

There were no injuries reported.

“Always expect the best but be prepared for the worst when you plan backcountry adventures or participate in extreme sports. Know the terrain, tell a friend where you are going, pack emergency gear just in case, and carry a GPS device with emergency capabilities,” Robinson said.

She said that in both emergencies the young men involved were all adequately prepared and emergency response teams were able to locate them as soon as possible.

READ MORE: B.C. man dies in skiing incident at Whistler Blackcomb

Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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