On March 15, 2014 Jamie Waine trekked to Bull Creek Hill in Alberta’s Kananaskis Country with her boyfriend, his dad and a group of avid geocacher and hikers. Having reached the top of the lookout, the trio were four kilometres from the bottom of Bull Creek Hill when Jamie slipped on some rocks and broke her ankle. The group’s SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger was used to send an S.O.S. to emergency services along with GPS location coordinates.
On March 15, 2014 Jamie Waine, as she often does, decided to tag along with her boyfriend, Brendan Clark, a member of a Calgary geocaching club, and his dad James Clark. It was her first time visiting Bull Creek Hill in Kananaskis Country a remote area--well out of range for dependable cellular services--best known for its wildland and provincial parks. The all-day hike provided a nice break from her final year at the University of Calgary where she is completing her practicum in education. The trio reached the top of the look-out (coordinates N50° 25.576 W114° 33.751) and were on their way down when Jamie slipped on wet rock and broke her ankle. It was 2 p.m. They had been hiking for four hours and they were still 4 kilometres from the bottom of the hill and would have to navigate an incline with sunset and below zero overnight temperatures fast approaching. “After I heard the snap, crackle, pop of my ankle breaking I was in shock and scared. I tried hopping for 20 or 30 metres but could not make it to the bottom,” says Jamie.
Brendan pressed the 911 button on his SPOT Gen3 device, which sent out an S.O.S. and their GPS location coordinates to the International Emergency Rescue Coordination Centre. “We always bring the SPOT GPS Satellite Messenger when we are hiking or geocaching to let people know where we are, if we are going to be late and to have on hand in case an emergency situation arises,” says Jamie. “You never know when you are going to need it, and on this recent hike, I’m so glad that we had it when I was too injured to walk.”
Springtime conditions (cool mornings, warm afternoons) create increased risk for avalanches and that’s exactly what happened in the Kananaskis/Banff region on March 15, 2014. In fact, several avalanches occurred in the area that day engaging all the helicopters which meant the Kananaskis rescue team had to snowmobile and hike to Jamie’s location.“The fact that SPOT was able to provide our exact location cut the rescue time by several hours,” says Jamie. When they reached the bottom an ambulance was ready to take her to hospital. She is recovering after surgery to reconstruct her ankle and is looking forward to graduating and her next geocaching adventure