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Updated: 6th January 2019 13:18

Climbers saved in 3,600-metre heli-rescue

Parks Canada rescuers used a helicopter to pluck two stranded climbers from a 3,600-metre-high mountain peak in Yoho National Park on Sunday.

Two climbers stuck on Mount Goodsir wait to be rescued on Sunday. (Ian Jackson/Parks Canada)

Parks Canada rescuers used a helicopter to pluck two stranded climbers from a 3,600-metre-high mountain peak in Yoho National Park on Sunday.

The successful operation on Mount Goodsir was the highest heli-rescue ever accomplished in the park, which is west of Banff National Park on the British Columbia side of the continental divide, officials said.

"It's the highest where we've slung somebody off, you know, elevation-wise," said Marc Ledwidge, a Parks Canada safety manager. The climbers, both in their 40's, almost made it to the top of South Goodsir Tower - the higher of the mountain's two peaks.

But unable to find a route back down, they contacted Parks Canada using a SPOT beacon — a satellite communications device that transmits a location and asks for help.

Getting high enough in the helicopter to rescue the climbers wasn't an easy feat, said Ledwidge.

"The higher you go, the less performance you get out of the helicopter," he said.

"The air gets thinner, therefore you get less lift as you go higher. At these elevations too, it's almost always windy, which makes pinpointing a rescuer on the summit of a big peak … that much more difficult for the pilot."

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