Search and rescue crews around the province are again facing an abundance of calls, putting them into risky situations.
Their mission, of course, is to save the day when required. But they shouldn’t be required this much.
Many calls stem from people hiking or snowboarding in out-of-bounds or backcountry areas. Even before COVID-19, there’s an appetite among the public that just getting outdoors for some exercise these days isn’t good enough. Engaging in high-risk behaviours appears to be the norm.
Inexperienced people have to realize you don’t hike Sooke Hills one day and Mount Everest the next. It’s a gradual process where you build up the necessary stamina depending on your physical capabilities.
And far too many people are going beyond their capabilities on a regular basis, resulting in frequent search and rescue calls.
Some of these have already ended in tragedy this season. Overtaxed search and rescue crews might not always get to people in trouble quickly, either, especially in remote locations.
The bottom line, particularly during the winter months, is to stick close to home and not put yourself at risk. The backcountry areas are filled with danger in the winter and an avalanche can come down with little notice and no time to elude it.
More people in the backcountry means more avalanches because humans are triggering many of them. There also seems to be a desire among adventurers these days, to borrow from Star Trek’s motto, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
Some people want to take their motorcycles into totally inaccessible areas to experience the untouched powder snow. Or their snowmobiles. Or they want to helicopter into a spot where there’s a frozen lake high in the mountains to skate on a small lake that supposedly no one has ever reached.
This desire to be the first to access one of the highest, most remote regions to ski or snowshoe or ride is just asking for trouble. Mother Nature can be very unforgiving.
The public needs to keep that in mind the next time before entering into any risky endeavours. Search and rescue can’t always be your saviour.