American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Rock and Snow Avalanche — Alberta, Rock Mountains, Mount Kitchener

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1983


Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Kitchener

Two climbers, both in their early twenties, were attempting the Grand Central Couloir on the north face of Mount Kitchener on August 22, 1982. Due to bad conditions, they decided to abort the climb and began to descend the fan below the upper bergschrund unroped.

Approximately 200 feet above the icefall, a rock and snow avalanche caught one man and knocked him over the icefall. A second, more violent, avalanche followed almost immediately and buried him in the bergschrund below the icefall. He was injured by the first slide and killed by the second. His partner dug out the body which was not deeply buried. (Source: D. Stinson and J. Steele, Jasper National Park)


A considerable amount of snow had fallen in the area prior to the attempted climb and avalanche activity was observed throughout the area. A safer descent route would have been to stay closer to the side of the fan. (Source: D. Stinson and J. Steele, Jasper National Park)

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