The Search and Rescue mission for missing 21 year old hiker Liang Jin made a lot of headlines this week.
The 21-year-old resident of downtown Vancouver has been missing since Dec. 31, when he sent his father a text message saying he was going hiking, but failed to say where.
Since then, police have searched his computer and found evidence he may have been heading to the mountainous trails on Vancouver’s North Shore.
“We had access to information on Mr.Jin’s computer that leads us to believe he might have headed to the North Shore, so that’s one of the areas we are focusing our investigation,” Sgt. Randy Fincham said Monday.1
After searching Liang’s computer, authorities suspected he might be on the Hanes Valley Trail – a particularly difficult and long hike on the North Shore, and one that is closed during winter months for safety reasons.
To get an understanding of the particular challenges of the Hanes Valley Trail, CBC Vancouver reached out to me to have a quick discussion about the trail, which can be seen above.
It was a very quick interview, and we didn’t have a chance to discuss what might prevent such incidents in the future. Stories like these are always a reminder that safety should be the first priority in the outdoors. A few takeaways for me personally are:
- Taking a Wildernesses Survival Course and/or Avalanche Safety course can both be a fun experience and life-saving one.
- Never hike alone. Go with a friend, or a group – and preferably with someone who is familiar with the area or trail you are on. Don’t rely on a cell phone as your safety net, as batteries quickly die and cell towers quickly go out of range when hiking.
- Always leave a trip plan with someone you trust, and once given, don’t deviate from those plans. This way, if something goes wrong, Search and Rescue will be activated sooner rather than later, and have some very important information about where they should begin looking and what gear you have. It’s also wise to leave a trip plan in your car.
- At a minimum, carry the ten essentials. Always.