Two overdue hikers have been found alive and well by search and rescue crews after spending a cold and wet night stranded in the North Shore mountains.
North Shore Rescue (NSR) says it responded late Saturday after North Vancouver RCMP alerted them that two people were missing.
NSR learned that the pair were dropped off at Lynn Headwaters Regional Park around noon on Saturday, with no confirmed destination.
Two helicopters and two dozen search and rescue volunteers were mobilized to find the man and woman, who were identified as Toronto tourists Anthony Lam, 26, and Roya Rasoulian, 23.
Sunday morning, NSR reported they had found the hikers on Grouse Mountain near Thunderbird Ridge.
Exhausted from their journey, the pair met with media at the base of Grouse Mountain and expressed their gratitude to the search team while explaining what led to their unfortunate circumstances.
“We just wanted to have some fun and just check out, and we did like you know a couple detours and a bit and we kind of lost track of time,” said Lam.
A self-professed experienced hiker, Lam conceded he was unprepared when the sun set and rain set in.
“Obviously we didn’t prepare to stay the night, but we just had enough just to like keep us alive basically.”
The couple was hiking in steep, slippery and rocky terrain in Hanes Valley, according to NSR search manager, Peter Haigh, who said the route takes 8 to 10 hours on a good day.
“The rocks were very scary, I kept thinking we were going to fall down,” said Rasoulian.
NSR team leader Mike Danks says searchers were concerned for the couple’s safety because they were “very inexperienced hikers … in an area that is well over their abilities.”
The hikers say they cuddled overnight to stay warm, until rescuers found them and ushered them down the mountain.
“They met us at a good time because again we’re at a point where we’re you know kind of almost passing out,” said Lam.
“They were angels from heaven,” Rasoulian said of the moment she saw her rescuers.
Danks says there are many lessons to learn from the incident.
“Number one is tell somebody where you’re going. Have a firm trip plan, make sure you’ve done your research and that you’re prepared for the hike that you’re going to do. And if you do get lost, stay put.”
Lam and Rasoulian say despite the arduous journey they plan to hike again, though they maintain they will be better prepared in the future.