EDITORIAL: Plan ahead for Finlayson climb

Langford Fire Rescue responds to roughly 12 calls on Mt. Finlayson a year

With summer-like weather and hiking season well upon us, the number of people who head for the hills, and even larger land masses, is on the increase.

One of the favourite hiking and climbing areas for people around Greater Victoria is Mount Finlayson in Goldstream Provincial Park.

Now, there are people among us for whom trekking up Finlayson is like a walk in the park, a training climb for bigger and more challenging ascents. But for the majority of us, it presents a very real test of our stamina and our physical conditioning and co-ordination, especially as you get nearer to the top.

This mountain has well-worn pathways to the top, but it is a lot more of a vertical climb than Mount Douglas or Mount Tolmie, the region’s other popular public climbing areas.

The key is to not underestimate the challenges one might face upon tackling the climb, especially if the weather is extremely warm as it has been lately.

We’re not saying don’t go up if it’s hot out, just to be prepared if your decision to climb Finlayson falls upon a hot day. That means taking plenty of water, wearing a hat, wearing appropriate shoes with a good tread and not trying to overdo it or prove how tough you are if you get tired partway up. And don’t forget to take a charged cell phone in case of emergency.

In today’s Gazette, two stories tell how people went up the mountain and required emergency crews to bring them back down.

The first, an experienced climber, ventured up Finlayson alone and without a cell phone. He suffered a heart attack and might not have survived had a group not found him in distress and called 911.

Even people who plan ahead can require help on Mount Finlayson. A recent scenario saw a middle-aged woman in a well-prepared group seriously twist her ankle, to the point where she also needed emergency responders’ help getting off the mountain to medical attention.

Crews respond to up to a dozen rescue calls per year on this mountain. That in itself should be enough for climbers of all levels to keep in mind when tackling the ascent.

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