• Hiker using Google maps. Antonio Groß/Unsplash
    Hiker using Google maps. Antonio Groß/Unsplash

A Canadian hiker needed a helicopter rescue in British Columbia last week after he apparently followed a non-existent trail on Google Maps.

North Shore Rescue (NSR) said that the unnamed hiker had become trapped on the backside of Mt. Fromme, north of Vancouver, in a trailless area criss-crossed by cliff bands.

A helicopter hoisted two rescuers down to the heavily-forested mountainside below the hiker’s suspected location.

The team then moved up the slope on belay until they located the missing individual and brought him back down, where the helicopter retrieved all three.

In a Facebook post about the rescue, NSR shared a picture of the phantom trail the hiker had attempted to follow from the Kennedy Falls area to the summit of the peak.

According to the group, the hiker was the second in two months to require rescue from Mt. Fromme after following the “trail.”

While it initially said that Google had not responded to their requests to remove the nonexistent trail, the team wrote in an update on Monday that the path no longer appeared in the app.

Google has tangled with outdoor groups over how it displays trails and hiking objectives before.

In 2021, Mountaineering Scotland warned visitors that putting “Ben Nevis” - the tallest mountain in the UK - into Google Maps would lead them to the closest parking lot to the summit, rather than the visitor’s center, where most hikers leave from to make the eight-hour round trip.

From the lot, a dotted line appeared to lead straight up the steep and cliff-guarded mountainside - a difficult and dangerous route for even advanced hikers.

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