Man lucky to be alive after going over series of waterfalls on Vancouver's North Shore

Lucky to be alive

First responders says a hiker is lucky to have survived after falling down a series of waterfalls into a gully on Grouse Mountain, Sunday.

North Vancouver Fire and Rescue responded to Mackay Creek about 2 p.m. after the 29-year-old man fell.

“He got off trail and he got basically into really steep terrain and ended up slipping down… a very steep set of waterfalls. Obviously injured, he ended up lying in the pool of the waterfall below, not moving,” said North Shore Rescue team leader Mike Danks.

Crews were able to pinpoint his location from his cellphone co-ordinates, but they had to rappel down more than 300 feet to reach the man, Danks said.

By then, he was badly hypothermic and had injuries to his hips and legs that would have made getting out on his own impossible.

“This was a multi-trauma call,” Danks said. “So he was in pretty bad shape.”

District crews got him out of his wet clothes, packaged him in a stretcher and began rewarming him. He was extracted by helicopter.

North Shore Rescue rigged the stretcher to a 250-foot line and brought the injured man to a waiting ambulance at the Capilano Gate rescue station.

There are a few takeaway safety lessons from the incident, Danks said.

The man was hiking by himself, which Danks said they never recommend. Had he been left with a head injury or broken phone, he unlikely would have been able to call for help from the gully.

The man was also not appropriately dressed for the wet weather, even if he hadn’t ended up in a creek.

And Danks said the subject made a common mistake – trying to reach safety by going downhill.

“If you're lost, do not go downhill on the North Shore mountains. It's just not a good idea. You just end up in precarious positions,” he said.

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