Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue took a man off the approach to Golden Ears mountain peak Monday after he was stranded there for a week.
Rick Laing, with search and rescue, said the Maple Ridge man was seen leaving his house Dec. 10, but it wasn’t clear where he was going.
Three days later, his family found signs he had been in the West Canyon parking lot in Golden Ears Provincial Park.
A search team began looking for the man Sunday and found him in the emergency shelter on Panorama Ridge, on the ascent to Golden Ears peak.
“We were able to lay hands on him at about two in the afternoon,” said Laing.
It’s believed the 23-year-old planned to spend one night in Alder Flats, then another night at the Panorama Ridge shelter.
Then the weather closed in and made it tough to get out. He had some outdoor equipment ,but it wasn’t suitable for the conditions.
“We figure he was probably in the shelter for seven or eight days,” Laing said.
“Eventually, it got to the point he wasn’t able to get a fire going and when we got to him he was down to eating raw eggs,” Laing said.
But he did the right thing in staying put.
“If he had attempted to walk out in the weather conditions that were going on, it probably wouldn’t have been such a happy ending.”
The shelter is at about 1,200 metres and weather was bad with winds howling and temperatures at about -15 C, Laing said.
Six rescuers stayed with him overnight in the shelter before flying him out Monday at 7:30 a.m. in better weather conditions.
The Ridge Meadows Outdoor Club has been pushing the provincial government to build a bridge over Gold Creek for several years, making the area easier to access, said club founder John Hume.
However, the search and rescue team used a helicopter to get crews on to the mountain as soon as possible.
“The first team in was able to make contact with him,” said Laing.
Hume said that Ridge Meadows Outdoor Club member Ron Paley was “instrumental” in getting the A-frame cabin, which that eventually saved the man’s life, built.