American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Ice, Placed No Protection, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Moraine Lake, 3-1/2 Couloir

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1980

FALL ON ICE, PLACED NO PROTECTION

Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Moraine Lake, 3-3½ Couloir

Ronald and David Schuela, brothers in their twenties, were climbing the 3-3½ Couloir to the Graham Cooper Hut on 1 August 1979 without crampons. They took about nine hours to reach just below the hut about 1630 hours. The climb normally takes about 1½ to 3 hours. They were seen from Moraine Lake, and one was above and one below the final patch of bare ice. They were seen again at 1900 hours in about the same position. First one and then the other slipped. They fell to the bottom of the couloir and were killed. Although the rescuers found these climbers had good ice gear, they obviously had not been anchored when they fell. (Source: T. Auger)

Analysis

Fatal accidents are becoming common in this couloir. It is an attractive line, and from Moraine Lake the hut at the very top is visible. It is, however, not the regular access route, and is a steep climb of 1,500 feet of snow and ice. The hut was named after Graham Cooper, who fell down the chute and was killed after helping to build the hut. (Source: T. Auger)

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