Kenneth Rutland helped to rescue Karim S. Bhatia and Masoud Shekarchi from exposure and avalanche, North Vancouver, British Columbia, January 27, 1999. Bhatia, 32, and Shekarchi, 41, were hiking a trail on Grouse Mountain when they were overtaken by an avalanche that swept them through a gully several hundred feet down the side of the mountain. They were left badly injured and partly buried by snow in the gully. Rutland, 35, provincial peace officer, had been climbing the trail when he learned from other hikers that another man had been struck by an avalanche and was missing. Volunteering to search for the man, whose body was found months later, Rutland turned and began to descend the mountain. Leaving the trail, he approached the gully, where he heard moaning, then saw Shekarchi and the exposed leg of Bhatia. To lessen his exposure to additional avalanche, Rutland went to a point at which the gully narrowed, then quickly crossed it there and descended to the men. He dug out Bhatia and Shekarchi and concluded that their injuries and the unstable snow precluded immediate evacuation. Assuming that rescue help had been alerted by the hikers he had encountered earlier, Rutland prepared a refuge for Bhatia and Shekarchi in the snow at the edge of the gully, and he gave up items of attire for them. Before he could get them to the edge of the gully, a slide of snow took the three men farther down the mountainside. Over the course of the following few hours, Rutland fought freezing temperatures, blowing snow, and a series of avalanches of varying size as he struggled to secure Bhatia and Shekarchi. Responding rescue personnel tended the two victims, aided by Rutland, who by then was numbed by the cold. Evacuated from the mountain, Bhatia and Shekarchi were hospitalized for extensive injuries, including broken bones. After climbing to the end of trail, Rutland left the mountain by tram.
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