American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

British Columbia, Coast Range, Tantalus Range, Mt. Alpha

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1964

British Columbia, Coast Range, Tantalus Range, Mt. Alpha. Paul Wisnicki (51) of the Alpine Club of Canada, was leading a section trip up Alpha on 25 August. At 9 A.M. in fog he was leading the 35 foot key pitch, a low grade 5, when he slipped just above the one protection piton left by previous parties at 7,000 feet.

The rope came out of the carabiner and he landed on his back on a ledge about 18 feet below, crushing two vertebrae and cracking a shoulder blade and rib. Two climbers immediately went to bring a floatplane to Lake Lovely Water. With help from the other three, Wisnicki walked down to the Lake in seven hours and was flown out to hospital.

Source: Paul Wisnicki.

Analysis: (Wisnicki) There was some difficulty in inserting the carabiner into the piton as it was rather high for me from the available stance. Very likely I did not flip it over to place the gate away from the rock. The protection rope was not kept tight. I fell several feet freely expecting a check of the fall, but the rope somehow clicked the carabiner gate open or pressed it against the rock and fell loose from it.

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