One of the many cool things I got to do during our filming was to go with the North Shore Search and Rescue team’s Tim Jones to perform some winter maintenance and checks on their radio repeater at the top of Cathedral Mountain.
Cathedral Mountain (1737 m) is among the tallest and most prominent of the North Shore Mountains. The peak is visible from downtown Vancouver, but on a decent summer day, with no snow, it takes a good 11 hours to reach the top from Lynn Valley on Vancouver’s North Shore.
North Shore Search and Rescue deals with very mountainous territory, so good radio signals are extremely important – both for a successful search and rescue, and for the safety of the rescue team as they try to do their job.
I went there with Tim in the dead of winter to check on some of their equipment. The weather systems up there can be so unpredictable that Tim triple-checked my clothing and our emergency food and supplies in case we got caught overnight. The helicopter had a small good weather window to drop us off, but that can change in a moment. There was no guarantee that they’d be able to come back to get us.
As the helicopter approached the peak, my anxiety quickly shot up as I looked down at the small helicopter platform perched on the mountain side. There is barely room for the helicopter itself, let alone any passengers.
“Okay, out you go,” I heard a voice say. I looked around and thought, “go where?” I could see nowhere to get out to! There was just snow and ice and dramatic drop-offs. But I swallowed my fear, got out, and waved goodbye to the helicopter. There we were, feeling on top of the world with mountains all around. Wow! That’s one experience I won’t ever forget.
– Melanie Wood, director, To the Rescue