American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Avalanche, Fall over Cliff, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Bow Summit

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1988

AVALANCHE, FALL OVER CLIFF

Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Bow Summit

On May 29, 1987, two skiers with downhill equipment walked up the upper pitch of the area known as the Bow Summit with the intention of skiing a convex slope with late season snow. One of the two skied down first, intending to take photographs of his partner. He stopped above some cliffs which were not visible because of the convexity of the slope. His partner then skiied down, triggered an isothermal slab avalanche 4 to 6 meters wide and 40 to 50 centimeters deep. Although the avalanche was not large enough to bury him, it swept him over the cliffs to his death. The first skier was standing to the side of the avalanche and was not affected by it. (Source: Banff National Park Warden Service)

Editor’s Note: This is not a mountaineering accident, but it is included here as an example of a small avalanche causing a fatal accident, something that could also happen while mountaineering.

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