After a record number of operations last year, Comox Valley Search and Rescue kicked off 2022 with two simultaneous searches in Strathcona Park that started New Year’s Day and stretched into Sunday, Jan. 2.
The first callout came around 11:25 p.m. Saturday for three overdue split-boarders and their two dogs. Teams could not search overnight due to extreme avalanche conditions, but were able to conduct a risk assessment. CVSAR members launched from Raven Lodge at first light on a snowmobile and skis.
Shortly thereafter, CVSAR received a call from RCMP about the activation of an emergency location beacon in the Marble Meadows area of the park for two snowshoers in distress.
“The field teams were reassigned to deal with both situations at once,” CVSAR president Paul Berry said.
Searchers located the three split-boarders and their dogs at a small cabin at Diver’s Lake, where the boarders had found shelter from what Berry called a “raging storm” the previous afternoon. The two snowshoers were located near the ranger cabin in Marble Meadows.
“With over 100 centimetres of fresh snow overnight, the pair had only been able to travel about 300 metres every hour,” Berry said. “All five recreationists were located safely and returned to Raven Lodge in some of the most difficult operational conditions CVSAR has operated in in years.”