American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall through Snow into Stream Cavity, British Columbia, Rocky Mountains, Mt. Assiniboine, Headwall

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

FALL THROUGH SNOW INTO STREAM CAVITY

British Columbia, Rocky Mountains, Mt. Assiniboine, Headwall

Karl Klassen (24) and a companion were climbing the headwall on Mt. Assiniboine on 18 July 1979 by the scree and snow patches to the right of the main snow chute, intending to traverse to the main snow chute higher up. When climbing a small snow chute, the snow gave way under Klassen and he fell about 80 feet into a cavity between the rock and the snow caused by a stream. He was able to traverse to the edge of the chute and climb about 25 feet to the surface between the rock and the snow. He had minor cuts and bruises to his arms and legs, and was able to return to the valley without help. (Source: Keirm Gray)

Analysis

This accident, and a similar one I helped to rescue someone from a few years ago, suggest that when climbing snow gullies on soft snow, climbers should avoid the low part where the stream might run. (Source: E. Whalley)

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