Hiker Rescued from Cliff After Glitchy Google Maps Led to Second Wilderness Mishap in Two Months

Published 11/14/2023, 1:53 PM EST

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While hiking embraces nature’s unpredictable routes, it also exhibits unforeseen challenges. Depicting a series of alarming incidents, technical trouble landed unsuspected hurdles in the path of a hiker in Columbia. After he was misguided in directions, the unfortunate man found himself in a precarious situation, following non-existent trail suggestions on Google Maps. 

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Undoubtedly, this unplanned move left him stranded, grappling with the treacherous locality. In order to reciprocate this hiking mishap, a Vancouver-based search-and-rescue group conducted an audacious support mission. Regrettably, their venture was not an isolated stance, as records claimed it to be the second case of hikers who inadvertently veered off-course, raising concerns about digital maps. 

Unprecedented hiking mishap ends in bold rescue 

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On November 4, the hiking enthusiast embarked on a thrill-seeking trip, relying solely on the high-tech map app. As he ventured towards the summit of Mount Fromme, the reckless hole was hindered by his poor footwear and minimal gear. Additionally, he even lacked a flashlight, enhancing his misery. Soon, the unnamed hiker was stranded on a steep cliff on the mountain’s backside, urging desperately for help. 

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The picturesque hiking zone, located just north of Vancouver, then witnessed an exhilarating rescue operation, orchestrated by the North Shore Rescue (NSR). As the crew swiftly deployed a pair of rescuers via helicopter into the heavily forested area, hopes were to find the man in responding conditions. Eventually, they succeeded in locating the hiking victim, safely retrieving him back to safety. Lured by phantom trails depicted on Google Maps, a previous incident resembled this chaotic tour. 

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Striking incidents portray a concerning pattern 

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Apparently, two months prior, another hiking trip had resulted in similar circumstances, misled by digital map data. This incident mirrored an eerily similar rescue to the current one, highlighting the dire consequences of relying blindly on Google Maps’ trail guidance. While the NSR emerged successfully in both missions, the treacherous terrain earned a stinging reputation. Devoid of established paths and shrouded in dense forests, it stood as a daunting challenge for these mistaken hiking lovers. 

The aftermath of these distressing evacuations urged the authorities to issue a warning notice for hikers using Google Maps for wilderness exploration. The search-and-rescue group advocated for the utilization of specialized outdoor apps instead, or even traditional paper maps and compasses. Moreover, they also emphasized the importance of conducting thorough research about hiking areas, understanding the terrain, and verifying trail existence before joining an adventure.

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Google Maps, upon being alerted about the hazardous glitch, promptly removed the non-existent route. However, the incident rekindled concerns about the reliability of digital mapping applications alongside their applicability for wilderness navigation. With many hiking enthusiasts embracing technology for navigation, incidents like these served as cautionary tales, raising questions about safety regulations. 

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Written by:

Sanchari Bhaduri

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Sanchari Bhaduri is a Viral Sports Moments writer at EssentiallySports. Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from IGNOU, she embarked on her content creation career in 2015 with freelance projects. Her previous role involved her serving as a Content Manager for Reddit.
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Edited by:

Anuj Jacob

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