Crews worked into the night on Saturday to rescue a man who fell on a steep part of Mount Douglas after hiking off the marked trails. (Photo courtesy of Dan Wood, deputy chief at Saanich Fire Department)

Crews worked into the night on Saturday to rescue a man who fell on a steep part of Mount Douglas after hiking off the marked trails. (Photo courtesy of Dan Wood, deputy chief at Saanich Fire Department)

Injured hiker’s hours-long rescue goes into the night on the slopes of Mount Douglas

Saanich crews rescued the man after he went off-trail and fell in a rocky bluff area of the park

Emergency crews worked past sundown yesterday to rescue an injured hiker who had fallen on Mount Douglas after venturing off the trails.

A man who was hiking off the marked trails Saturday afternoon with his friends fell in area described as having a series rocky bluffs and mossy downslopes. The fall prompted fire and ambulance crews to respond to the Saanich park just before 5 p.m, according to Dan Wood, Saanich Fire’s deputy chief.

Saanich Fire technical rescue crew members located the man on steep terrain on the northwest side of the mountain, about 250 metres down from the summit. He had non-life-threatening injuries to his lower leg, which required crews to carry him out of the area on a stretcher.

That began a complex, four-hour rescue mission to get the man to crews waiting at the top of Mount Douglas.

“Under increasing darkness, our firefighters used several rope techniques to safely transport the hiker back up the steep terrain to the main trail and the ambulance,” Wood told Black Press Media.

A crew of 14 firefighters equipped with safety ropes worked past sunset to transport the man up in a carrier stretcher. Wood said high angle and low slope rope techniques enabled the firefighters to control the ascent with a series of rescue ropes, pulleys and other equipment.

Trees in the way required crews to make several directional changes along the “very narrow” upward route. Slippery conditions on the moss-covered rocks were also a factor, which is why firefighters had to use safety ropes and equipment, Wood said.

The deputy chief didn’t have an update on the hiker’s condition as of Sunday morning. The rescued man was with friends at the time of his fall.

“Given the time of day, I would say they were prepared but should have stayed on the marked trails to be safe,” Wood said.

He echoed that in a warning to the public, saying that it’s safer to stay on marked trails when hiking in parks. Wood reminded hikers to always be prepared for the day by making sure they wear proper footwear and clothing. Hikers should always let others know about their plans for the day.

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