Friday, December 28, 2012

Gatineau Park's Wolf Trail #62: Closed by NCC to skiing, hiking & snowshoeing

As mentioned in my previous blog article entitled: Running 19 km in Ottawa + Snowshoeing 8 km on Des Loups / Wolf Trail in Gatineau Park, my friend and I snowshoed Wolf Trail on Mar 4, 2012. We parked at the Blanchet parking lot P13 at the west end of Meech Lake, climbed abt 200 metres up & did the 8 km loop in approx 2 hours (actual running/walking time was 1h20). The snow condition was excellent back in March and following the trail markers was not difficult (see photo above).

However, with heavy snowfall and an unexpected injury, a couple found themselves lost and stranded on Wolf Trail in the middle of a chilly night on Dec 27/28, 2012. They were rescued and evacuated by helicopter. A few days later, two groups of ppl found themselves lost and going in circle in the same area. As the daylight faded, they had to call for rescue on their cell phone. The National |Capital Commission NCC has now barricaded the trail head as well as parking lots P12 and P13 and is warning XC skiers/hikers/snowshoers not to enter the closed area (See reports from the Ottawa Citizen below).

I must admit that over the years, I have had my share of outdoor sports-related incidents and near-disasters:

* XC Skiing: Lost during a whiteout blizzard in Flin Flon, Manitoba
* Backcountry Skiing: Avalanche in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, BC
* Rock Climbing: 35-ft leader-fall in Bon Echo Park, Ontario
* Day Hike: Lost in Killarney Provincial Park, Ontario .... etc

None had required emergency evacuation until I ran into the ill-tempered eel that bit my finger to the bone in the French Polynesia (Please read:  旅遊南太平洋大溪地及 它法屬波利尼西亞島嶼 (二) / Travel to Tahiti & Other Polynésie française Islands in the South Pacific Ocean (2) )!!!

I am still seeing physio 3X a week !!!!!


Couple spends chilly night stranded in Gatineau Park

OTTAWA — A couple of adventurers were saved by an off-duty rescue worker after they became stranded in Gatineau Park on Thursday night in the middle of a snowstorm. Adrian Beaudin, a member of the volunteer group Search and Rescue Global 1, was snowshoeing with a friend in Gatineau Park at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday when he came across two people in the P13 parking lot. They told him that their friends, a 43-year-old man and a 32-year-old women, had become lost while hiking on the Wolf Loop, trail No. 62. The trail, in a steep and rugged section of the 360-square-kilometre park near the west end of Meech Lake, had been closed by the National Capital Commission because of the danger of downed trees and falling ice left over from a storm that hit the region on Dec. 21.

But Beaudin said it can be almost impossible in winter to see which trails are open and which are closed. Beaudin and his friend began hiking Wolf Loop themselves, calling out for the lost couple. The pair searched for three hours in the dead of night along debris-covered trails before finding the couple at about 12:30 a.m. “The trail was really hard to follow,” he said. The man had injured his leg and the woman was feeling the effects of the –15 weather. Beaudin tried to light a fire but his matches were wet. He and his friend gave the couple dry clothes and some food and water. Although the rescuers knew the way back to the main trail, by this time the man and woman were too weak to make the three-hour hike back to the parking lot. Beaudin and his friend decided to stay. “My buddy and I had a choice and we chose to stay up with them,” Beaudin said.

As a trained search-and-rescue volunteer, Beaudin knew what to do. Beaudin, who by day works in technology, called 911 and was able to give dispatchers the stranded party’s global positioning system (GPS) co-ordinates from his cellphone. At about 1:30 a.m., he communicated with the MRC des Collines police and NCC using amateur radio, he said. He said that as a member of Rescue Global 1, he’s worked with the NCC and MRC des Collines several times. “There was no panic,” he said. While they waited for help to arrive, Beaudin talked to the couple to keep them calm. He asked them what they did for a living, and what they planned on doing when they got home. No snowshoeing, they told him.

It wasn’t until 4:45 a.m. that the main rescue party from Search and Rescue Global 1 (SG1) was able to reach the four. The rescue team built a fire to warm the stranded snowshoers, then worked with the MRC des Collines and NCC to get the couple and Beaudin and his friend out of the park. Lawrence Conway, a spokesman for SG1, said the couple handled themselves well throughout the ordeal. They stayed put and called out for help. “The way they reacted was perfect,” he said.

Around 6 a.m., the woman, Beaudin and his friend were taken out of the bush on snowmobiles to emergency response vehicles in the P11 parking lot, approximately two kilometres away. The injured man was airlifted out by a Sûreté du Québec helicopter, which then took him and the woman to hospital in Hull, where they were treated for hypothermia. Beaudin and his friend were checked by paramedics but were not hurt.

Read more:


Updated 20121231:

NCC closes P12, P13 after spate of Gatineau Park rescue missions

NCC closes P12, P13 after spate of Gatineau Park rescue missions

Snow has turned Gatineau Park into a winter wonderland that can be as dangerous as it is beautiful. The NCC has closed P12 and P13 parking after three separate groups of adventurers got stranded in the bush in the past few days. This photo was taken Sunday on Ridge Road.

Photograph by: Drew Gragg , The Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — Gatineau Park is closing down trailheads near Meech Lake after three separate groups of snowshoers got lost while exploring the woods this past weekend.
Parking lots P12 and P13, which give hikers access to closed trails, are shut down. Police will also be patrolling the roads near the trailheads to ensure people are not trying to sneak onto the forbidden paths.
Many of the park’s trails are closed because of recent heavy snowfalls and debris littering the paths, forcing snowshoers to make their own way in the wintry woods.
“You could get lost for days on end,” said Lawrence Conway, who co-ordinates rescue missions for Search and Rescue Global 1.
Conway and his team of volunteer wilderness rescuers were called in twice this past weekend to bring lost hikers out of the woods.
Conway said there was a sign and caution tape warning would-be hikers to stay off trail 62, but that clearly some hikers overestimated their ability to navigate the woods.
“Maybe a little too much self-confidence,” he said.
On Sunday, two separate groups of adventurers got lost on trails 62 and 40. They eventually found each other, and used their cellphones to call for help. The NCC called the MRC des Collines, who worked with Rescue Global 1 to locate the hikers.
Rescue teams were able to reach them within four hours using their phone’s GPS co-ordinates and no one had to be taken to hospital.
But not all lost trekkers are so lucky. On Thursday, a couple got lost on trail 62. The man, 43, injured his leg and eventually had to be airlifted out of the park by a Sûreté du Québec helicopter. Both he and his friend, a 32-year-old woman, had to be treated in hospital for hypothermia after spending more than 10 hours stranded overnight. in the park.  The cost of these search and rescue missions is high, said Jean Wolff, a spokesman for the NCC. Helicopters, hospital stays and police hours add up, but Wolff said the greatest cost could be people’s lives. The trails are dangerous not only for hikers, but also for rescue teams, who had to travel on foot in the dead of night to reach the lost adventurers.  “There’s so much snow you can no longer see the paths,” Conway said. “People aren’t appreciating the risk associated with their little adventures.”  Parking lots P12 and P13 will remain closed until the trails nearby are safe for travellers.

Source:  The Ottawa Citizen 20121231

1 comment:

the inner space said...

Presented by: The Inner Space on Thursday, December 07, 2006 at precisely 10:24 AM

The body of a San Francisco man who had walked into the Oregon wilderness to find help for his stranded family was found Wednesday. James Kim, 35, walked into the snowy Oregon mountains Saturday leaving his wife and two young daughters in the family car. They were rescued by searchers on Monday, but he never returned to their car.

The Kims had been missing since November 25, when they left Portland and headed home to San Francisco, California, after a holiday trip to the Pacific Northwest. Kati Kim the wife told officers they were traveling south from Portland on Interstate 5 and missed the turnoff to a state highway, Oregon 42, that leads through the Coast Range to Gold Beach where they planned to stay at a resort.

The 2005-2007 state highway map distributed by the Oregon Department of Transportation has a warning in red print, inside a red box: "This route closed in winter." The area's complicated road network is commonly used by whitewater rafters on the Rogue River or as a shortcut to the coast in the summer, but it is not plowed in the winter. After leaving Portland on Interstate 5, search leaders said, the couple missed a turnoff that leads to the coast and took a wrong turn on a twisty mountain road they chose as an alternative. Authorities have said the couple fed their daughters baby food and crackers and used snow as water as they waited for help.

Kati breast-feeding the younger child, breast-fed both the children after their food ran out. The adults also ate berries. They used their car heater until they ran out of gas then burned tires to stay warm and attract attention. Kim walked into the snowy Oregon mountains Saturday to find help for his wife, Kati, and two daughters, Penelope, 4, and Sabine, 7 months.

On Monday Kati Kim and her daughters were rescued at their car when a helicopter of searchers hired by the Kim family saw her waving an umbrella.


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