Local first responders rescued two hikers stranded behind the Osoyoos Golf Course on Saturday afternoon. (Osoyoos Fire Department)
By Vanessa Broadbent
First responders rescued a pair of hikers stuck on a mountain side west of Osoyoos on Saturday afternoon.
Around 1 p.m., a call came in that two hikers were stuck in an area behind the Osoyoos Golf Course. Part of a group of four, the hikers were trying to climb to mines behind the golf course but only made it halfway, Osoyoos Fire Department chief Ryan McCaskill said.
“It was getting pretty steep and they panicked and ended up grabbing onto a tree and couldn’t move from there. They couldn’t get back down and they couldn’t go up.”
The two hikers that weren’t stuck called for help, and the fire department, along with BC Ambulance and RCMP, responded.
Due to the high angle of the slope, first responders were not able to reach the hikers, so Penticton and Oliver – Osoyoos Search and Rescue teams were called to assist.
However, Search and Rescue was an hour and a half away from the scene, so crews on scene were able to come up with another plan to rescue the hikers.
“Along beside them was a path that wasn’t as steep as the one they had went up, so I ended up going back down below with the guys and we came up with a plan to send a couple guys up and see if we could just talk them down because it wasn’t as steep as they thought it might have been,” McCaskill said.
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With guidance from first responders, the hikers were able to carefully climb down the mountain to safety.
“We were there for quite a while just trying to coerce them down to us, but they listened and got down, it just took a little while,” McCaskill said.
This isn’t the first time first responders have been called to help people stranded in the mountainous area west of Osoyoos.
McCaskill said firefighters have responded to a couple calls in the area, and assisted with two rope rescues.
“People go hiking and they don’t realize just how steep things are, or they go up and they look down and realize how high up they are and they panic.”
So how can hikers stay safe when climbing behind the golf course?
“Stick to the path,” McCaskill advises. “If you’re going to go hiking just stay on the path, unless you’re a seasoned mountain climber or hiker.”