The main trailhead for access to the Yanks Peak Snowmobile Trail is seen in this photo by Recreation Sites and Trails BC. (Recreation Sites and Trails BC/Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations BC)

The main trailhead for access to the Yanks Peak Snowmobile Trail is seen in this photo by Recreation Sites and Trails BC. (Recreation Sites and Trails BC/Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations BC)

Search and rescue teams to descend on Yanks Peak for avalanche response training

Teams from Williams Lake, 100 Mile House and Prince George participating

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue (CCSAR) members will be brushing up on their avalanche response skills Sunday, Jan. 3 at Yanks Peak.

Partaking in training at the 6,200-foot mountain near Likely, which is popular with winter sports enthusiasts, including the Williams Lake Powder Kings, will be South Cariboo Search and Rescue and Prince George Search and Rescue.

“Yanks Peak is a very primary point for snowmobilers to go out and explore, and this is the joining of three teams that would be responding to calls on that peak,” said CCSAR communications spokesperson Debra Bortolussi.

Quesnel Search and Rescue does not have a snowmobile team, which means they often request mutual aid, Bortolussi said.

The full-day will see the teams practice their response skills at a time when the snowpack is less than satisfactory.

Read More: Two die in B.C. avalanche as forecasters warn of ‘complex,’ ‘weak’ snowpack

Happy Holidays from everyone at Central Cariboo Search and Rescue. We hope everyone has been able to enjoy this season….

Posted by Central Cariboo Search and Rescue – CCSAR on Tuesday, December 29, 2020

“This year, especially just by the weather we’ve been having and the kind of snow we’ve been getting, the terrain is hazardous,” Bortolussi said, noting most danger often occurs when avalanche danger is rated considerable.

According to Avalanche Canada, under considerable danger, human-triggered avalanches are likely, which stated the highest number of avalanche fatalities have historically occurred when the danger was rated considerable.

CCSAR has five members who are trained as organized avalanche response team members. Three of them are anticipated to complete training for organized avalanche response team leaders later this month, which will allow them to read the snowpack and conduct a search.

“Our search and rescue team in the past few years have been fortunate of not having to respond to an avalanche, but we do respond considerably to missing, lost, overdue or injured snowmobilers, so part of this too is being proactive,” Bortolussi said.

Before hitting the great outdoors, Bortolussi recommends everyone to plan ahead, wear appropriate clothing and have extra food and water on hand along with a first aid kit, fire starter and flashlight. An avalanche beacon, probe and shovel are also strongly advised.

Read More: Stranded sledder used snowmobile for warmth on Yanks Peak

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