Backcountry greenhorns keep rescuers scrambling in Kananaskis (Reprinted from the Kananaskis Country Facebook Public Safety Section, Aug 25, 2017). Inexperienced backcountry hikers have K-Country rescuers hopping, with an astonishing 19 people needing to be retrieved from Bow Valley mountains in the last week alone. Kananaskis Country Public Safety Section said that “luckily” none of the incidents involved any injuries but the calls have nonetheless tied up staff until the early hours of the morning on multiple nights.

Southwest ridge of Mount Cline looking towards Banff and the White Goat Wilderness area. K-Country Public Safety

“We can’t help but notice a pattern developing in our local Bow Valley mountains,” said an official post on the organization’s Facebook page on Friday.

“Yamnuska, EEOR, and Ha Ling have all managed to stump new hikers and cause a rash of 911 calls.”

Officials have some advice for anyone thinking about heading into the mountains:

• Take a headlamp or flashlight as days are getting shorter.

• Start your hikes early. “Late afternoon/early evening is too late to start an alpine scramble!”

• A fully charged phone battery is essential. “The light on the phone is fine if you are trying to find your keys underneath the car seat, but it is not enough to navigate through the hills. Aside from that, the phone is a critical link for communication.”

Safety officials are also asking experienced hikers to share their knowledge (and the Facebook post) with newbies, adding wryly that “the novelty of 2 am hikes wears off after 3 in a week.”