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Fall on Rock, Descending Unroped, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Ishbel


Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Ishbel

On July 13, 1985, two climbers were descending moderate slopes on the northeast face of Mt. Ishbel. The terrain consists of scree slopes broken by short cliffs and slabs. The climbers were unroped, and the more experienced climber led the way. On a short steep section, the other man lost his balance and pitched over backwards. The leader was unable to grab him, and he continued to tumble a further 100 meters before stopping on a scree ledge. He suffered severe injuries, including a broken pelvis and extensive loss of blood. The other man went for help, reaching the highway in one and a half hours.

Because of the serious injuries, the Warden Service asked a doctor to meet them en route to the rescue. The victim, conscious throughout, was slung out by helicopter and scoop stretcher. (Source: T. Auger, Banff Park Warden Service)


The leader decided against the use of rope despite the fact that the victim was apprehensive. The terrain was suited for short-rope travel, a technique that can prevent this type of accident. The party had adequate gear, including helmets. (Source: T. Auger, Banff Park Warden Service)