Outside Magazine has named North Vancouver’s Grouse Grind as one of the 10 most dangerous hikes in the world.
The decision to include the Grind, a popular three-kilometre trail up the side of Grouse Mountain, among some of the world’s deadliest climbs sparked disbelief online Thursday, with comments ranging from “hilarious” and “kids do it all the time” to “you’ve got be (expletive) kidding me.”
In a photo gallery of the Top 10, the Grind follows such treacherous trails as Huayna Picchu, also known as the “Hike of Death,” in Peru and The Maze in Utah, made famous in the true-story movie 127 Hours starring James Franco. Franco plays a man who has to cut his own arm off to get out after getting pinned by a boulder.
It’s even in the Top Five, which includes China’s Mount Hua Shan, and the plank trails, which consist of narrow wooden platforms bolted onto the mountainside. As Outside says, there are no official statistics, but it’s believed there are 100 deaths a year on that hike.
According to the article, three people have died on the Grouse Grind since 1999 and “the trail is so grisly it often takes 12 rescuers to get a hiker off the mountain.”
Tim Jones, a spokesman for the North Shore Search and Rescue, was disheartened to see the Grind described as a dangerous climb by Outside.
“It’s horsesh–.” he exclaimed on Thursday. “This trail — if you even can call it a trail, it’s more of a staircase — is not dangerous. It’s high-volume, and when you have that many people you are bound to get people collapsing, or dehydrated or sprained ankles.”
Jones, who has worked for NSR since the 1980s and has gone on many Grouse Mountain rescues, said on a busy weekend day sometimes more than 6,000 people ascend the Grind.
“This (article) is doing a real disservice to an iconic path. It is very well managed by (Metro Vancouver) and whoever provided this data should know better. It’s fearmongering.”
Jones said there is a lot of “weirdness” on the Grind, including hikers dressed in ninja or chicken costumes, and people hiking in flip-flops and even high-heels, but he said that is part of its charm and one of the many reasons so many tourists and locals are drawn to the place.