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  • Hunter Cresswell

Three days, two rope rescues

NCC: Stay on official Gatineau Park trails

A woman with a broken ankle stranded 650 feet up the Eardley Escarpment for seven hours and a near-hypothermic man stuck on a small ledge just off the Wolf Trail vista point has the National Capital Commission urging people to stay on designated trails.

“The NCC frequently reminds visitors of the importance of remaining on official trails during their outings in Gatineau Park for conservation and for safety purposes,” NCC spokeswoman Maryam El-Akhrass wrote in an email when asked about both these incidents, which took place last week. “Using unofficial trails or going off trail increases risks of getting lost in the park or encountering difficult terrain.”

Chelsea Fire Department Captain John Pomeroy was there for both rescues, and spoke to the Low Down about what he saw.

Around 3:20 p.m. on Nov. 11, the fire department got a report that a woman was hurt near Lusk Falls. It took an hour and a half for rescuers to locate the woman. It took over 50 rescuers from across the region to safely bring the Ottawa woman down the steep slope to an ambulance. Dispatchers eventually had to get GPS coordinates from the group of hikers because the lost group thought they were at the falls but were partway down the Eardley Escarpment near the rock climbing crags and cliffs.

Pomeroy said that the woman was using a rope that was already there to get down, but it broke, causing her to fall.

“I saw the rope, it was a little thicker than a shoelace, basically. They were certainly not equipped to be where they were,” he said.

Ropes are strung between trees in this area not to be used as railings or for descents down steep sections, but to guide climbers to the bottom of cliffs.</