American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Falling Rock — British Columbia, Selkirk Mountains, Sir Donald Meadows

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1985

FALLING ROCK

British Columbia, Selkirk Mountains, Sir Donald Meadows

On August 22, 1983, seven climbers from an Alpine Club of Canada group based at the Wheeler Hut and a separate party of two Americans were camped in the meadows below the Sir Donald-Uto col. At approximately 2230, a massive section of the west face of Sir Donald broke loose near the summit, creating a rock slide that scoured 20 percent of the surface area of the face. Most of the debris landed on the

Vaux glacier, but rockfall at the campsite leveled all five of the tents there. Despite the fact that most of the climbers were caught in their tents, there was only one injury that required medical attention. A rock passing through a tent hit two of the occupants, one of whom sustained a severe muscle bruise to the right thigh. As well as destruction of the tents, the Americans reported losses of an ice ax, a boot, eyeglasses and other articles.

A dense cloud of dust and continuing rockfall made travel that night too dangerous. The climbers took shelter beneath overhangs in some nearby gulleys until morning, when they assisted the injured man down to a safer location. Park wardens evacuated him by helicopter. (Source: J. L. Turnbull, Glacier National Park, J. A. Creore)

Analysis

The meadows have been used as a standard bivouac site and several tent platforms had been built. Future parties should camp at the col, which is entirely protected from rockfall. A notice to this effect has been posted by the Park Warden Service. (Source: J. L. Turnbull, Glacier National Park, J. A. Creore)

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