Not just an ordinary ascent of Mt. Elizabeth

Reach Your Summit sees 52 hikers climbing the mountain

On Saturday, August 3, a group of hikers made it to the top of Mt. Elizabeth in four hours, without any injuries.

Not big news, right? Plenty have done the same since people first started climbing the mountain.

What makes this ascent special, however, is that it was done by a group of Rio Tinto BC Works’ employees, part of a bigger group of 52 hikers who set out to climb to different stages along the route up to the summit, organized by BC Works’ Baptiste Dethune.

The group, taking part in the BC Works Reach Your Summit team-building exercise, included young and old and consisted of hikers of differing fitness levels, and ranging in hiking experience from novices to more experienced.

The group managed this partly due to good organization and coordination, but mostly because they were accompanied by experienced, fit ‘guides,’ six members of Kitimat Search and Rescue (KSAR) who shepherded the hikers up and down the mountain.

KSAR rescue coordinator Kelly Marsh said the group was approached by BC Works and asked if they would coordinate the Reach Your Summit exercise.

“Initially we were looking at 35 hikers at most, requiring three or four KSAR members to guide them up the mountain,” said Marsh.

However, on the Friday before the exercise, 58 BC Works employees and family members had signed up.

“We put a call out to our volunteers and ended up with seven KSAR members, six on the mountain and one support member down below.”

Marsh said organizing the exercise was a mammoth task, with immense emphasis placed on safety and the ability to get a hiker down should there be an injury.

The KSAR volunteers were equipped with satellite tracking devices, satellite phones and radios, just in case.

In addition, KSAR arranged for a helicopter to be on standby in case someone needed to be airlifted off the mountain.

Weather conditions were monitored by the hour beforehand – had the weather turned nasty the day of the hike, it could have been called off.

“We knew it was going to be a nice day, but the situation can always change,” said Marsh.

To provided added layers of safety, KSAR had coordinated with the Kitimat Fire Department and Terrace Search and Rescue, whose rescuers are trained in longline rescues (the rescuer is lowered from a helicopter to hoist the patient up for evacuation to a medical facility).

With a detailed safety plan in place, the hikers gathered on Saturday morning and set off to conquer Mt. Elizabeth, which is also known by the Haisla as Laxuxw (Boulder Mt.) and Mt. Bolton (after Hemas chief John Bolton).

The hike was separated into three stages, and the hikers got to choose which of the three they wanted to attempt – up to the Viewpoint and back down, up to Little Lizzy and back or up to the summit and back.

The three groups were accompanied by their own KSAR personnel to guide them up the mountain.

“Even though there was a huge skill and fitness differential, we had a lot of hikers decide to carry on after they reached the viewpoint,” said Marsh.

At the second stop on the way up to the summit at Little Lizzy, there were enough hikers wanting to summit for two groups to finish the hike. Both groups made it to the summit by 1 p.m., without incident or injury, apart from a lot of bug bites.

“I was overjoyed at the success of the exercise – on top of that when we returned there was talk of another hike up the mountain,” said Marsh.

To show their appreciation, on the return to Kitimat KSAR was presented with a cheque for $3,000.

“We weren’t expecting anything for our efforts but are very thankful for the donation,” said Marsh.

Visit our Facebook page

Follow us on Twitter

Typos? Email the editor!


Just Posted

Northwest Wave Riders return from Victoria Dragon Boat Festival

This was the first time in 25 years that northern B.C. teams competed

Feds approve $4M for Tahltan protected and conserved areas

Well defined stewardship will help nation reduce uncertainties for resource partners

BC Parks student rangers complete several northwest B.C. conservation projects

This was the first time the summer program operated out of Terrace

Australian gold mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

Newcrest now owns 70 per cent of the mine south of Iskut and operatorship

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

VIDEO: B.C. Mountie killed by drunk driver honoured by memorial playground

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Most Read