American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Failure to Follow Route, Party Separated, Stranded, Frostbite, British Columbia, Rocky Mountains, Mount Assiniboine

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1982

FAILURE TO FOLLOW ROUTE, PARTY SEPARATED, STRANDED, FROSTBITE

British Columbia, Rocky Mountains, Mount Assiniboine

On August 2, 1981, a party of two from the eastern United States climbed Mount Assiniboine from the hut. On the descent they separated on easier terrain at about the midpoint on the normal route. E. F. (25) followed what he thought were steps in the snow that led him off route and down into a rocky buttress west of the route. He eventually reached a spot from which he could neither ascend nor descend and was benighted. His call for assistance was relayed to Banff and he was slung off the face at midday on August 3. He suffered frostbite on all the toes on his left foot and on two toes on his right foot. (Source: T. Auger, Banff National Park; C. Saldeir, East Kootenay Park District)

Analysis

Assiniboine was this party’s first climb in the Rockies. The mountain has a pyramid shape so, on the descent, a climber is faced with an increasing choice of routes. An experienced mountaineer will keep an eye on landmarks for the descent while making the ascent. The “tracks” in the snow which he followed had been made by falling rock. (Source: T. Auger, Banff National Park)

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