How not to get lost in the Whistler/ Blackcomb Backcountry and stay out of trouble.
If you cannot go back (usually uphill) to where you know you left the trail or ski area then DIAL 9-1-1 and state the nature of your emergency.
Backcountry users in the Whistler area should be prepared to navigate in whiteout conditions, have knowledge of local terrain, proper outdoor gear, a buddy capable of companion rescue, first aid skills, and avalanche training. Cell phones work in some areas, and not in others. If you’re lost, conserve your batteries. Generally the phones work better at ridge top, and not at all in the valley bottoms.
Always tell someone responsible where you are going, and your time of return….
If you do get lost in the backcountry find a location where you will be visible from the air, and note any prominent landmarks, make a shelter, and stay put.
Dial 911 for assistance and don’t waste your cell phone batteries.
Remember on those storm days you are placing yourself at additional risk so adjust your ambitions accordingly and be prepared to self rescue!
Rescue responses can be greatly delayed due to weather, and avalanche conditions. Rescue may not be possible late in the day or during extreme weather events.
Whistler SAR would like to remind people that often they will not be reported missing early enough in the day to launch a search, and therefore stand a very good chance of spending the night out.
Many tracks have been spotted from the air from people in precarious situations off the backside of Whistler mtn. Many of the incidents have gone largely unreported probably because no one knew they were out there. Orient yourself using google earth and get a good overview of the topography of the Whistler area. High resolution imagery is available so if you want to scope that new line plan your trip using google earth.
Part 2. Read these 10 Essentials for Backcountry Exploration before you go. Practice using your companion rescue equipment.
Part 3. If you must overnight, HUG a TREE! Get under cover (preferably under a dense prickly spruce tree) using branches as insulation between you and the snow. During daylight with flying conditions, plan on being visible from the air. Conserve your cell phone batteries NOW by texting.