Hikers need to be prepared to climb Mt. Cheam, and CSAR has some ideas that may help. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)

Hikers need to be prepared to climb Mt. Cheam, and CSAR has some ideas that may help. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)

Snow still a factor in some B.C. mountains, warns search and rescue

Hiking in light summer clothing, without proper footwear or any survival gear is not recommended

Anyone climbing mountains in the B.C. back country right now should carefully consider the risks posed by the high snowpack levels.

The presence of snow requires certain safety precautions, according to Chilliwack Search and Rescue.

Hiking in light summer clothing, not wearing proper footwear or carrying any survival gear is not recommended, said Adam Laurie, vice-president and training officer with Chilliwack Search and Rescue (CSAR).

Proper footwear would be mid-cut to high-cut hiking boots with ankle support and good traction. Trail runners are not recommended for snow crossings or rocky terrain.

”Remember to carry the 10 essentials, be prepared for snow travel and make sure you tell someone where you’re going, what you’re doing and when your planned return time is. You can do this all using our online Trip Planner,” he added. “Be safe!”

Telling someone by email is the safety concept behind the trip planner idea.

Over the July 1 long weekend, CSAR members spotted groups of hikers climbing Mt. Cheam who were both prepared, “and unfortunately, not so prepared,” Laurie said.

Some had day packs with water and extra clothing as well as hiking poles for the snow, while others had almost nothing in terms of gear.

“The unprepared ones had no equipment, water, or extra clothing.”

Day hikers included families, couples and seniors. Some hiked in shorts and t-shirts, summer dresses, or running shoes that were unlaced.

“I would venture to say that about 25 per cent of the hikers over the weekend were at a higher risk of falls, injury, or requiring rescue at some point,” he said.

It show more education is needed for those entering the back country.

Mt. Cheam “is a classic and well sought-after hike,” Laurie noted, not only for the stunning alpine experience but also for the amazing 360-degree views from the summit.

The world-class hike attracts visitors from across the Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland.

The well-marked trail to Cheam makes the hike easy to navigate, but the “increased snowpack this year” is making the approach extra challenging in some spots. The snow only recently melted from the trailhead.

“There are many areas where the trail is still under snow and the adventurer will need traverse the snow fields to make his/her way to the saddle and summit.

There is snow on the ground as hikers enter the alpine meadow. But last year this time, there was no snow there. Lack of rain and cool overnight temperatures are slowing down the melting process.

“Believe it or not, this year the snow starts less than 20 minutes into the hike. This increases your risk and exposure to a potential fall, injury, or even death,” Laurie said.

CSAR reminds hikers to:

  • Dress for changing weather and colder climates;
  • Bring hiking poles for snow travel; and
  • Wear appropriate footwear for snow crossings and mountainous terrain.

Search and Rescue

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

L-R: The Nelson Skating Club’s Vienna Ferguson, Oceane Cheon and Paisley Jarvis wait for their performance times during the Kootenay Region Virtual Competition on Feb. 20. Photo: Submitted
Nelson Skating Club competes in regional event

The Kootenay Region Virtual Competition was held Feb. 20

Former owner and new manager Cole Johnston holds up the Reo’s sign outside its new location on Hall Street. The video rental store will reopen March 17. Photo: Submitted
Civic Theatre to reopen Reo’s at new location

The theatre has purchased the video rental store

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Most Read