American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Cornice Collapse, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Belanger

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1989


Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Belanger

On December 11, 1988, Heidi Schaefer (24) and Ken Wallator (21) were climbing Mount Belanger, a 3060 meter peak south of Jasper. About 1300, they had just got off the face, finishing the technical part of the climb, and reached a ridge 130 meters below the summit. It is just a walk to the summit from where they were. They stopped to take a photograph when the cornice gave way. Wallator was able to jump and grab onto the rock, but Schaefer fell 480 meters down the side of the mountain.

After the fall, Heidi stood up for a moment to put on her parka which she retrieved from her backpack, then collapsed. It took Ken 90 minutes to climb down to where she was. He carried her through a snowstorm toward a climbers’ hut more than 300 meters below. However, she died of her injuries about 1630, before Ken could reach the hut. (Source: The Ottawa Citizen, December 15, 1988)

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