American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Slip on Ice and Snow, Inadequate Equipment, Inexperience, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Joffre

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1990


Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Joffre

On August 6, 1989, a party of three (early 20s) was climbing ice and snow on the north face of Mount Joffre. They were roped together, using ice screws for protection. About 1600, the leader slipped, and pulled the other two off the face. They tumbled out of control 180 meters to the Magin Glacier below. One climber suffered injuries to his left ankle and knee, and the others had only abrasions. Park rangers evacuated them by helicopter at 2000 and took one of them to hospital. (Source: George Field, Alpine Specialist, Kananaskis Country)


The climbers were using stubby ice screws for belay. Considering the condition of the ice and snow, they should have been using ice screws 20 centimeters or longer, or else a deadman anchor. The party did not have enough experience to make these decisions, and although they were using ice axes, they were unable to make a self-arrest. (Source: George Field, Alpine Specialist, Kananaskis Country)

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