The director of the Wells Snowmobile Club, Dexter Knorr, shared what is in his safety kit when sledding. Included are spare parts for his machine, like sparkplugs, and specially-designed tow ropes. (Submitted Photo)

Wells Snowmobile Club director shares tips for safe sledding

Two Prince George men were recently stranded on Yanks Peak, one overnight

  • Nov. 28, 2020 12:00 a.m.

When the weekend hits, you’ll find Dextor Knorr on the slopes of Yanks Peak.

The director of the Wells Snowmobile Club (WSC) said he was surprised to hear two riders recently stranded on the slopes of the mountain near Wells were so lacking in gear.

“They were inexperienced and unprepared,” Knorr said. “They were lacking a lot of equipment.”

While one rider was able to dig himself out of the snow with an emergency shovel, the other was prevented from escaping, as his shovel was left behind in his truck. He was forced to spend the night on the mountain and was rescued by helicopter the next day.

READ MORE: ‘I could still be the one out there’: snowmobiler rescued, 1 still missing near Wells

Knorr said he had been snowmobiling on Yanks Peak since 2005, and as a helpful tool to others, he sent a photo of some of his safety gear he takes on every trip. It includes a first aid kit, axe, special snowmobile tow bungees, spare parts, fire starter, a tool kit, water and food. He also brings a GPS and satellite phone.

“[The satellite phone] has been my best purchase ever,” Knorr said. “It’s been 100-per -cent accurate. It’s a minute to five minutes texting back and forth to town. Usually, I let my wife and parents know where I’m going. It’s for peace of mind.”

The phone Knorr uses even shares his location with family on Google Earth and is equipped with what he called an “SOS” emergency button.

In addition to proper equipment, Knorr recommended letting someone know where you are planning to ride and checking conditions before heading out, including the weather and the avalanche forecast.

The search for the missing man was hampered by tough conditions, as fog and low cloud cover caused low visibility for searchers on the ground and in the air.

Knorr was one of the searchers on the ground looking for the man.

READ MORE: Quesnel Search and Rescue praises public help in latest search

“It changes up there hourly,” he said. “It could be sunny, blue skies; the next thing you know, you’ve got fog, low clouds and it’s snowing.”

Knorr encouraged people not to be scared off by fears of going missing, noting the WSC maintains dozens of kilometres of groomed trails in the area.

“Take a bit of time and know your surroundings,” he said. “There’s common landmarks we use as terminology up there.”

The trail groomers were out Friday, Nov. 27, trying to battle the 35 centimetres of snow that fell on the area in the past 24 hours.

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