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Squamish Climbers Drop Rope and More Coast Rescues

Squamish Search and Rescue were busy over the past few days with a few incidents involving climbers.

There was another rescue that took place over the weekend when a pair of climbers were stranded on University Wall when they lost their rope.

Rescuers flew up with a helicopter and handed them another one. The climbers were then able to get off The Chief safely, he said.

Over on Slhanny, search and rescue techs had to rescue an injured climber. President BJ Chute said, “It was actually quite a technical rescue.”

They had a team come in from the top and a team ready from below while the helicopter was ready to pick up.

“We had three plans going,” he told Squamishchief.com and noted that in the end the helicopter plan was the one to save her.

Another rescue from the #stawamuschief today. #SSAR #squamishsar

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Exact details on her injuries are unavailable, but rescuers believe they are not life threatening.

The rescue went late into the evening on Friday. Chute said the cause of the accident remains unclear.

A few weeks ago, search and rescue had to save a BASE jumper who got hung up on The Cheif.

Victoria, B.C. resident Nathan Anderson is an experienced BASE jumper, estimating he’s jumped from The Chief about 130 times before.

In May, Anderson hit a crosswind that could have cost him his life. “There’s a lot of jumps that happen on this thing – probably hundreds a month every summer – and they go off uneventfully and we never hear about them,” Anderson said. “This was a pretty unlucky break for me.”

While he waited for rescuers, Anderson held the parachute tight so it wouldn’t inflate, potentially pulling him off the perch to what could easily have been a fatal fall.

Meanwhile, Squamish search and rescue was airlifted onto The Chief by helicopter, and one member rappelled down the cliff to reach Anderson’s location.

Rescuers considered a number of ways to get Anderson down, but initially were not entirely certain how they would pull it off.

“It’s not a typical rescue (where) someone twisted their ankle. It’s highly technical,” search manager Landon James said. “It’s something we train for, but not our everyday call.”

In the end, the team was able to secure Anderson, unhook his parachute and hoist him back up the mountain to safety. The relieved BASE jumper, who required just three stitches after the ordeal, said he understands how unbelievably lucky he was to have Squamish SAR’s help.

“I owe them my life,” he said. “I wouldn’t be here without them.”

Though some observers have argued Anderson and other thrill-seekers should be billed for rescuers’ time, search and rescue groups in B.C. are staunchly opposed to billing people, including skiers who intentionally go out of bounds.

The B.C. Search and Rescue Association said even the perception that someone who is lost or injured could be charged can lead them to delay calling for help, or even avoid the volunteers who are looking for them.

“The BCSARA will conduct search and rescue missions when requested to do so by the authorized tasking agencies for persons in danger or distress in the province of BC without charge,” the organization says in its official position statement.

“Our goal is to save lives.”