NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. - A search and rescue team digging out from a storm of recent missions in the mountains north of Vancouver is appealing to the public for donations to finish a new rescue base.
North Shore Rescue has been called to duty for several precarious situations over the past week, including a life-or-death incident in which they located a snowboarder who was lost for three days.
The crew is now fundraising to complete a $1.4 million rescue base in North Vancouver, and still needs $70,000 to cover the costs of items for indoor rope rescue training, equipment maintenance and administrative support.
That includes needing cash for a rope rescue catwalk, industrial washer and dryer, full mechanic tools inventory, computers, AV equipment and office furniture and tables.
The team plans to move in and start operating from the base in early January.
Crews have rescued two snowboaders who have gone out of bounds over the past week, responded on Sunday to what was at first believed to be an avalanche on the Grouse Grind and were called again later that night when a 13-year-old snowboarder went out of bounds.
Ski patrol members for Mount Seymour were able to locate the teen by cell phone before the North Shore crew arrived, but in the other two cases its members spent considerable time locating the lost people.
A helicopter was brought in to lift 33-year-old Sebastien Boucher, from Ottawa, to safety from a gully near the Sea-to-Sky Highway in the Cypress mountains area on Dec. 18. That cost thousands of dollars and resulted in the team leaving some expensive rescue gear out in the wilderness.
Early Sunday, the crews engaged in what became a nearly 10-hour mission to locate a 30-year-old snowboarder on the man's birthday. He too, had gone out of bounds with a friend on Cypress Mountain but did not make it back to the lodge.
Officials with the North Shore Rescue have repeatedly asked the public to stay in-bounds when out on the slopes, rather than venture into the backcountry where avalanche risks and the prospect of getting lost are much higher.