American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Benighted in (1) Rain and (2) Snowstorm, Inadequate Equipment, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Cory

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1986


Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Cory

On August 11,1985, two climbers ascended Cory Crack, a popular gully/chimney route on a limestone face near Banff. They were stopped by darkness one pitch from the top. The weather had been deteriorating all day: the temperature dropped and it rained all night. The climbers were soaked and hypothermic by the time they reached their car at noon the next day, just as a helicopter search was getting underway. (Source: Banff Warden Park Service) On September 23, 1985, two climbers started up Cory Crack at 1100. Part way up, they found icy conditions. It began to snow, but they persisted, and ended up spending a freezing night in the chimney with no bivouac gear. In the morning they scratched their way up a couple of short pitches to the top, with a few falls en route. At noon they were found at the top by park wardens, and slung off by helicopter to the valley. (Source: Banff Park Warden Service)


This is a popular local route, but climbers underestimate it and every year some are forced to spend the night out. It is basically a moderate rock climb, but a bad place to be in a storm. Rock climbers should carry at least the basic survival gear on routes like this, and should back off when time or conditions dictate. (Source: Banff Park Warden Service)

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