American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock and Snow, Climbing Alone, British Columbia, Coast Mountains, Slalok Mountains

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

FALL ON ROCK AND SNOW, CLIMBING ALONE

British Columbia, Coast Mountains, Slalok Mountain

In late September, 1988, Kirby Inwood, an inexperienced climber in his early 30’s, was on Slalok Mountain, a 2650 meter peak about 30 kilometers east of Pemberton. He was ascending rock that was covered with snow and verglas, but which was otherwise easy. In the early afternoon, at the 200 meter level, he slipped and fell. He sustained multiple injuries, including broken bones, cuts and bruises, and internal injuries, and was unable to descend.

A storm kept him stranded for two days and three nights, until Whistler Search and Rescue was able to use a long line on a helicopter to evacuate him to a lower elevation. There he was transferred to another helicopter and flown to the hypothermia unit at Lion’s Gate Hospital. Hospital staff who examined him on arrival estimated that he was within two hours of death from severe hypothermia and injuries. It was December before he left hospital. (Source: Doug Fox, Whistler, BC)

Analysis

Easy rock can become very dangerous when covered with a thin layer of ice or snow. Climbers climbing alone should expect the worst and be especially cautious. (Source: Doug Fox, Whistler, BC)

This ANAM article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.