#GlobalNews: “North Shore Rescue warns about dangers of breaking snow cornices as temperatures rise – BC”


With B.C.’s south coast entering a stretch of warm weather later this week, North Shore Rescue (NSR) is warning people venturing out into the mountains to beware of snow cornices that can break off in rising temperatures.

NSR shared a photo of eight hikers standing on top of a snow cornice, or overhang of snow, at the top of a popular hiking spot on Strachan Mountain. The photo was originally posted in an online forum for outdoor enthusiasts Tuesday evening.

“If this cornice had broken, it would have taken the people standing on top down with it,” NSR wrote in its Facebook post. “Extreme caution should be used.”

North Shore Rescue team leader Mike Danks told Global News snow cornices are a concern to their crews throughout the winter.

“I think this picture really illustrates why,” Danks said. “People are very naive to the dangers of cornices.”

Last month, five snowshoers fell 500 metres to their deaths when the snow cornice they were standing on broke away on Mount Harvey near Lions Bay.

READ MORE: Fifth body recovered in snow slide near Lions Bay, B.C.

Danks says a snow cornice could have also played a role in the disappearance of two male hikers on Cypress Mountain on Boxing Day, although the pair was never found and it remains unclear what happened to them.

With temperatures expected to rise several degrees above average by Victoria Day, Danks says snow cornices can present a greater danger.

“It happens on and off throughout the winter, especially as those cornices build up — they tend to get too heavy and they will fail.”

Danks says to avoid running into cornices, hikers should stay well back from the edges of any ridges or summits.

“If you are not familiar with that type of terrain, then you probably should not be there. You should be sticking to a more conservative terrain,” he said. “But if you do want to venture  into those areas, you need to go with someone experienced who can show you how to check if it is a cornice.”

If you do find yourself in unfamiliar terrain and are concerned about the presence of cornices, Danks says the best course of action is to follow your tracks and back out.

“If in doubt, just stay back,” he said.


© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Note: “Previously Published on: 17 May 2017 | 10:47 pm, as ‘North Shore Rescue warns about dangers of breaking snow cornices as temperatures rise – BC’ on GLOBALNEWS CANADA. Here is a source link for the Article’s Image(s) and Content”.

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