(1:57:17) Dale – So he couldn’t do it. In the meantime someone had gone to Sunwapta Falls and got the wardens there. They came up and they tried and the same problem was happening. The father was interfering. Anyways they finally got down and chiseled him out, but he was hypothermic. He died of hypothermia before they could get him to the hospital. The family then has to deal with the guilt aspect of it all. Whose fault is it? Well, they go to a psychiatrist and the psychiatrist goes, “These are my patients, so I am going to take the guilt off them and I will put it on Parks Canada and everybody else.” So these people sue Parks Canada, they sue Rod, the guide. They sue the company he works for. In the wintertime he works for CMH, so they sue them. They sued everybody!

(1:58:16) Kathy – Again they had an inquest and they threw it out. But (Darro) Stinson said it was really interesting because it really brought the whole rescue program of Parks under a microscope and they found that they were doing what they were supposed to do. They had a very good outfit.

“Perry feels very strongly that you were the best” (Retired Chief Warden Perry Jacobson said in an interview November 20, 2011. “That public safety team became one of the best in the world over time.”).

(1:58:36) Dale – Yeah we were. I mean in North America, we are not going to try to compete with the Europeans. But what we were doing in North America with the heli-sling stuff and how we evolved from that…

(1:58:45) Kathy – We pioneered that. That was interesting pioneering that…I was one of the first people to get into the slinging program. I even went with my dad! I slung with him underneath the helicopter. It was on a training day on Mount Rundle.

(1:59:10) Dale – That is another period that is interesting because Peter Fuhrmann had come up with this idea…Well actually it all started with Bruno Engler. Bruno came over reading this thing on heli-slinging in Europe. He is next-door neighbor to Peter Fuhrmann. “Peter” he says, “See this? That’s what they are doing in Europe.

(1:59:51) Kathy – But they had a winch system there.

(1:59:51) Kathy – They had a winch system because they used bigger helicopters. They used military helicopters.

(1:59:55) Kathy – Peter, being Peter…

(1:59:58) Dale – He said, “Oh yeah, this is it!” So Jim Davies and him fly over to Europe. They talk to them and get the whole thing figured out. Then they come back and they adapt the system so that works off the Jet Ranger.

(2:00:10) Kathy – They realized the helicopter was too small for them to use the winch. So Peter says, ‘Let’s just tie it on the bottom of the helicopter.”

(2:00:18) Dale – So that is what they did. They would just tie it hard and fast to the helicopter and we were the guinea pigs! There was Jay Morton, all of us young wardens in Banff. They did one course in Banff and then they came up to Jasper where I was working and they did a course there. We were all going, “They are nuts!”

“Joe Halstenson has a funny story about being slung underneath the helicopter.”

(2:00:44) Kathy – Oh, I know, he was upside down! He comes in upside down and these guys (who he was there to rescue) said, “We are not going anywhere with you!’

(2;00:50) Dale – Then Jay of course. Did you hear Jay’s story? They had just a loop at the end of the rope, it is a couple of strands…

(2:00:57) Kathy – They didn’t have a D ring.

(2:00:58) Dale – They didn’t have a metal ring so you had these big carabiners that you clip into this rope ring. Well, it didn’t quite go on eh. So it is hanging on the rope like this (demonstrating). Jay puts his hands up like this because we didn’t have any radio communication. He put his hands up like this to let Jim Davies (the pilot) to lift him off. He lifts him off and then Jay looks at this carabiner and sees it is like this with the gate open…

(2:01:23) Kathy – He is going, is it going to go this way, or that way?

(2:01:25) Dale – So he flies all the way up onto…Rundle and just then there is a bit of a shift in the wind of the helicopter and the carabiner falls to the proper side and clicks on! Talking to Jay afterwards, “Geez, Jay what was it like?” He says, ‘My whole life flashed in front of me and it bored me to death!”

(2:01:52) Kathy – I don’t know how his life could be boring, but anyway…

(2:01:55) Dale – At the same time they are talking in the superintendent’s office about helicopter use and why the wardens needed to be controlled in terms of how much helicopter time they use. Then just as they are talking about this, who flies by, but Jay Morton underneath the helicopter by the window! Steve Kun (the superintendent) is there and he is going, “That is exactly what I am talking about!”

(2:02:26) Dale – Then there is the good story, you’ve got to get this story here. This is a prize one…They find a guy up on Forty Mile (creek) or someplace like that. He is unconscious on the trail and so Peter flies in really quickly. He gets in and lands by this guy…He is breathing, but he is unconscious. So Peter just throws him in the helicopter basket and he tells Davies to fly him off and get him to the hospital as soon as possible. This guy had taken a drug overdose. Peter had a beard in those days. He’s flying along and he’s got this guy just kind of (just laying there) in the rescue stretcher and then the guy comes to. The first thing he sees is underneath the helicopter are the letters HEL. He looks over and sees this bearded man hanging there. He says “Who are you?” Peter says, “My name is Peter.” The guy goes completely gunnysack! Fuhrmann is trying to hold this guy in the stretcher so he doesn’t bail out.

(2:03:52) Kathy – They are flying into the hospital and all they can see is Peter beating on this guy!

(2:03:56) Dale – They got on the radio and told Davies to get down as soon as he can!

(2:04:00) Kathy – He was trying to knock him out!

(2:04:04) Dale – We went through some really interesting experiences that we had to modify or change…But we are really proud of just being the first organization (to do helicopter rescues in Canada)

(2:04:23) Kathy – I might point out that as far as I know it (the warden service) was the only professional rescue organization who has never had anybody killed on a rescue. People have died, but not on a rescue. Our safety record is top notch. We have not lost a pilot, a helicopter, or a rescue personnel on any rescue and that is amazing, (especially) for the number of years and for the places that people have gone…

(2:05:04) Dale – You think back to when they decided that they weren’t going to give the contract to Jim Davies. There were hard feelings over that, but this is the evolution of the whole process. We had Quasar come in and they had good pilots.

(2:05:22) Kathy – The only thing is that you were always flying with a different pilot and it was so good to fly with Jim because we all knew him.

(2:05:27) Dale – We were spoiled that way. But there was a huge fight. This was the fight your dad (Keith Everts) was in and Gaby Fortin

(2:05:36) Kathy – And Tim.

(2:05:38) Dale – The lowest bidder…

(2:05:40) Kathy – That was when they came in with the tests for the pilots.

(2:05:44) Dale – Yeah, they didn’t have any tests before then. So that was when they tested them all. The KO’s (Keith Ostertag), the Jim Davies and the Jeff Palmers.

(2:05:55) Kathy – Sure enough somebody came along and they could do it.

(2:05:58) Dale – But you know that test was the most important thing. The procedure they went through to test these pilots to make sure that they knew what they were doing (was important). It wasn’t any easy test. You really had to know what you were doing to pass it.

“Did they want the lowest bidder?”

Ottawa wanted the lowest bidder So Gaby, Keith Everts, Perry Jacobson, and Timmy Auger they were all fighting for the fact that you can’t just fly with any helicopter pilot.

(2:06:40) Kathy – And you have to have mountain experience.

(2:06:43) Dale – But we were lucky because we had Garry Forman and Todd McCready up in Jasper.

(2:06:46) Kathy – Todd was one of the best.

(2:06:48) Dale – And we had Jim Davies here and Jeff Palmer and those guys were really good.

(2:06;53) Kathy – And KO (Keith Ostertag), a number of people.

(2:06:55) Dale – We went through a period there when you didn’t know who was going to show up as the helicopter pilot eh. And we were going through that period when the Vietnam War was over. So you would get all these cowboys that liked to just race around in their helicopters and put all kinds of stress on them. Do all the fancy high powered turns and stuff like that. I know there was one pilot in Jasper who was working for Garry Forman who was doing some stuff for us on that film and he lost a job over it. But we won’t mention any names.

(2:07:35) Kathy – Dale was mentioning that rescue on Mount President. We call it the family rescue. I was riding down the valley with Randy Robertson and there is this kid standing there saying, “Your dad is okay.” I am going, “Well sure. Why wouldn’t he be?” Then Jim Davies came up, he said, “Get your gear. We are going into Mount President. There is a kid in a crevasse up there.” That was all I heard. I was with Rick Langshaw actually and he didn’t know how to get this harness on, so we left him there. A lot of people couldn’t figure out how to put the harnesses on.

(2:08:14) Dale – I slung in first. I slung in ahead of you.

(2:08:18) Kathy – But then you came back down to get more help.

(2:08:20) Dale – When I got there I saw Sylvia (Kathy’s sister) and I saw Kathy’s dad (Don Forest). He’s got blood on his forehead because Sylvia has got the ice ax and is chopping away and he leaned over her and she came back and the ax hits him right here. That is another story, the head injuries he suffered in his life! But, yeah we realized this guy is buried down there with probably 40 feet of snow on top of him.

(2:08:47) Kathy – He was a kid and Sylvia was right behind him. The two younger guys were giving him the opportunity to do a bit of leading. It was a pretty gentle slope, but there was just enough snow that had fallen the night before that a little sluff came down. It only went around his ankles, but it was enough to knock him down and it pushed him into the bergschrund. Then the rest of the snow came down, so it was just packed with snow. What they were doing was following the rope down and digging this huge long tunnel…They had sent someone out for help, this one kid. He thought there should be a warden at Little Yoho, so he sat there all day. He was waiting for the warden to come back, of course there was nobody stationed there. Finally these women came along and they said, ‘Why haven’t you gone for help?” And he ran out, but by that time it was getting late in the afternoon. Anyways we went up there. There was the whole Alpine Club there, it was Thanksgiving weekend.

(2:09:55) Dale – There were all kinds of people that you knew there, Tony Daffern, Gill Daffern, a lot of people. The first thing you realized was to get this snow removed you needed something that you could scoop it out with, so I asked for these ten gallon pails.

(2:10:13) Kathy – So I am going, they want shovels and pails, what kind of a rescue is this? Is this going to the beach or what? I came in with all these pails and shovels.

(2:10:23) Dale – And the pail worked really well.

(2:10:25) Kathy – But anyway I was underneath the helicopter slinging in… and I didn’t know what was going on. Nobody told me really anything. All of a sudden I am hanging there and I see this hole and I see Sylvia! I am going, “Sylvia!” She says, “Kathy what are you doing here?” I said, ‘What are you doing here?” The next person that pops out of the hole is dad with blood running down his forehead. I am going, “What is going on?” Dale is up on the slope giving everybody directions. Anyway, the long and the short of it is, we got him out, but he was dead. It was getting really late by this time. Gord Rutherford had come in and he flew out with the body. And all the other people, as soon as they got him out went down. We were still up there because we had all this equipment. It was getting dark and Jim flew Gord out with the body and then he came back in. He said, “Okay, it is getting dark, there is a storm coming and I am almost out of gas.” We had attached all this stuff to ourselves with carabiners and we are sitting there. He says, “I’ve got one opportunity to get you, otherwise you are up here for the night.” He came in and I couldn’t understand how he found the D-Ring because of all the snow flying around, but he managed to grab the D-Ring and we both hooked on. Normally they are quite polite, go up and out. But he just went straight down. I remember just going, “Whoa!” Normally you fly backwards, but we had so much gear on us that we were facing forward. I thought, “Holy shit, this is the wildest ride I ever had in my life!”

(2:12:23) Dale – We were flying over the glacier and all you are seeing are crevasses…We flew down over the glacier and all of a sudden he kind of flared up like that and just at that moment we turned around and then we had our backs to the wind. That was a little more aerodynamic.

(2:12:47) Kathy – I guess from our perspective here (as a warden couple) we were doing a lot together. We had to do a lot together, we were in a small park…The horse trips really brought you together too. I mean as much as it provided conflict, you are doing a lot of really incredible things together that other people don’t do…At that time it was really a bonding thing to do. Not just with Dale, but with everybody that you were working with. Like bivouacking with Gerry and Cliffy White. “Turn over, turn over, I am freezing.”