Mar 23, 2015 12:43 PM EDT
Making the trek is an accomplishment for most trekkers. Research shows that fewer than 25% of the trekkers are successful. It's especially true when the trekker is visually impaired.
Bryce Lalonde, a legally blind man, got lost on his trail after becoming disoriented and dehydrated on a multi-day hike on the North Shore. He hiked on the Lions Peaks on Thursday but "underestimated the trail" and got stranded after he camped overnight.
With no energy and water, Lalonde, who wanted to hike the Howe Sound Crest Trail, phoned Lions Bay Search and Rescue to call for help after the weather became worse. He hiked on a trail that was only suitable for a summer hike.
Lions Bay Search and Rescue rescued him after sending three search teams and a helicopter.
"I had to call for help, because after a night of no water I had no energy to get down the mountain," said Lalonde, who is in his early 30s. "I'm fortunate these guys were here to have my back," he further added.
"This young man's cellphone was getting low on power and if he hadn't managed to get a call out to 911 this could have been a far more serious operation," said Martin Colwell, search manager for Lions Bay Search & Rescue. He also added that "even for someone with good eyesight, the area is too high up to be suitable for hiking this time of year," as reported by CBC News.
Lions Bay Search and Rescue Team Leader Brent Calkin said: "Everybody's fooled by the weather right now," he said. "It's not summer on the mountain, it's winter." He praised Lalonde for having saved his cell phone battery. "Spare batteries are important, and maintaining what charge you have is important."
"[Lalonde] was in hard ice and snow. It's difficult and treacherous travel right now. Usually there's about four metres of snow and people are in snowshoes. There is a thinner layer of hard ice, and people need to be equipped properly to be out there."
"There are snow patches on ridges and if you slip you can fall 1,000 feet to your death," warned Doug Pope, search manager with North Shore Rescue. He further said that hikers "should really wait until the snow is completely gone."
But this experience hasn't curbed Lalonde's enthusiasm for mountainous hiking. "Plan ahead, make sure you do your research, and don't let any kind of personal disability or problem get in the way of going for an adventure and doing what you want to do," he says.
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