American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Snow, Inexperience, British Columbia, Coast Mountains, Mt. Seymour

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1981

FALL ON SNOW, INEXPERIENCE British Columbia, Coast Mountains, Mt. Seymour

Michael Rempel (21) was hiking with two companions on February 23, 1980, when he fell 300 meters down the gully between Mt. Seymour’s second and third peaks. At the top of the gully there were about 12 cm of new snow over an icy crust. According to press reports, Rempel had no previous hiking experience. It is not clear whether the party had ropes or axes.

His companions were unable to reach him and went for help. Following an unsuccessful rescue attempt on foot, he was evacuated by helicopter but pronounced dead on arrival at hospital, approximately five hours after the fall. (Source: I. Kay from press reports)

Analysis

It appears that Rempel simply ventured too close to the edge, slipped, and was unable to save himself. Faulty route selection may have contributed. Mt. Elsay, the party’s apparent objective, can be reached by descending the gully in question, but this route is safe only for an experienced and well equipped party. Although not leading, Rempel may have been looking for the route when he slipped. (Source: I. Kay)

(Ed. Note: Again, a non-climber finds himself in a mountaineering situation, so we include it for illustration.)

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