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Fall on Rock, Failure to Follow Route, Failure to Test Hold, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Cascade Mountain

FALL ON ROCK, FAILURE TO FOLLOW ROUTE, FAILURE TO TEST HOLD Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Cascade Mountain

On May 27,1986, two climbers were ascending Lien’s Layback, a four-pitch rock route rated 5.7, near Banff townsite. The lead climber (25) had reached a short groove with small holds, and traversed off route by mistake. A hold pulled off, and he fell approximately ten meters. He sustained cuts, bruises, and head wounds, and was unconscious for a short period.

When he regained consciousness, he was able to traverse to his belayer, who bandaged his wound. The belayer tried to lower the injured climber, but after a brief effort decided it would be wiser to call for assistance. Some people at the base of the mountain heard their calls for help and notified park wardens at 1330. Six rescuers were slung by helicopter to the top of the cliff. They lowered a rescuer to the climbers, using a cable winch. (Source: Banff National Park Warden Service, and Crag and Canyon, June 4, 1986)

Analysis

The climbing party was adequately equipped and experienced. The route may have the reputation of being easy, but one or two moves can be intimidating, and there is loose rock. (Source: Banff National Park Warden Service)

(Editor’s Note: The reports received do not say whether the lead climber was wearing a helmet, but it seems likely that he was not.)