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Hiking High? Rescuers Warn of Dangers

Weed and wanderlust don’t mix.

Hiking High? Rescuers Warn of Dangers

That’s the message from Metro Vancouver’s North Shore Rescue (NSR), which posted a blog on Sunday warning that cannabis and the backcountry are a dangerous combination.

The message was prompted by looming marijuana legalization and concerns about the apparent arrival of cannabis-infused guided tours of the backcountry, something team member Curtis Jones wrote is simply unsafe — regardless of whether they’re under supervision.

“We regularly respond to calls for those who are well prepared, do everything right, are completely sober, and still get into trouble,” wrote Jones.

“When you’re high in the mountains, and I don’t mean elevation wise, you shift your position on the continuum between ‘Prepared Hiker’ and ‘Candidate for Rescue’ significantly towards the latter position.”

Jones referred to a number of recent NSR call-outs in which adventurers became intoxicated. In once case, someone was having a bad acid trip. In another, edible cannabis caused a hiker seizures, and in a third, two snowshoers used pot and ecstasy — and ended up stabbing each other with a knife.

“The mountains are not the place to lose yourself in a drug-induced stupor, nor are they a place to experiment and learn your tolerance,” wrote Jones.

“The reality we face is that the wilderness is unforgiving and it can take a long time for rescue crews to reach you, even if you are only a couple kilometers up the trail.”

North Shore Rescue is by far B.C.’s busiest search-and-rescue team, and said earlier in 2018 that it was once again on track for a record year for call-outs.

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