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Fall on Rock, Inadequate Protection, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Bridgeland

FALL ON ROCK, INADEQUATE PROTECTION

Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Bridgeland

On July 31, 1988, a party of six established camp at an altitude of 2200 meters at the base of Mount Bridgeland. Next morning at 0500, they set out for the summit via the South Ridge. At 1200 they had reached the col below the summit buttress. Then at 1410, the leader of the second rope lost his balance and fell approximately 18 meters to the belay ledge, where the fall was arrested by his belayer. He suffered numerous deep lacerations, severe bruising, and suspected fractures. The belayer suffered sec- ond-degree rope burns to his hands.

Two climbers stayed with the victim, while one went for extra supplies at camp and the other two went for help. Twenty centimeters of newly fallen snow overnight and inadequate bivouac gear left the stranded party soaked and mildly hypothermic. The weather prevented an air rescue in the morning, but a ground party of wardens climbed in, stabilized the victim and established comfortable shelter for the group. In the afternoon the clouds lifted enough for an air evacuation. (Source: Patrick Sheehan, Canadian Park Service, Jasper)

Analysis

The group was generally well prepared and capable of achieving their objective. The accident seems to be the result of long leads without placement of enough protection, and of climbing technical rock with very heavy day packs. (Source: Patrick Sheehan, Canadian Park Service, Jasper)