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A B.C. teen is speaking out after a traumatic experience on the Sea-to-Summit trail this week.
On Facebook, 18-year-old Shelbee Fulton posted about the incident which she says was the “most physically and emotionally exhausting experience of [her] life.”
Fulton and her boyfriend spent six hours hiking the icy trail before arriving at the popular Sea to Sky gondola at the summit.
The two hikers arrived around 6 p.m. after the last gondola had already gone to the bottom.
“By the time we got to the gondola at the top I was in tears because I was so sore and exhausted. We were late for the gondola but there was two girls standing right in front of us so we knew it would be OK,” she said.
While the two girls paid and were permitted to take the gondola down, the attendant told Fulton and her boyfriend it would cost $60 to take the gondola down because there is an extra charge for late patrons.
However, the couple only had $40 cash and were unable to withdraw more money because the ATM was out of order.
“The [attendant] told us he’d have to call someone to see if we can take the gondola anyway. I suggested we pay at the bottom but he said no,” said Fulton.
The attendant then informed the couple they would have to trek back down the mountain’s 11 km service road at dusk.
“I instantly fell to the ground crying. Clay comforted me for a few minutes before telling me we had to start walking. He approached the man again to inform him that it was almost sundown and pointed to me on the ground saying I was going to freeze.”
The hike down did not go well for the two, who were eventually picked up in the dark by Search and Rescue teams.
In a statement, Sea to Sky Gondola said it should have downloaded the two hikers even though it had closed down service for the day.
“In the past guests have sought special assistance in downloading after the gondola is closed and this service is offered for an additional fee. This fee is not advertised as these after-hours downloads are not a regular service offering, when the gondola closes for the day operations need to cease.”