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Stranded, Climbing Alone, Inexperience, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Cascade Mountain


Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Cascade Mountain

On September 21, 1989, a lone scrambler started climbing up the southeast face of Cascade Mountain. The terrain is complex and is third and fourth class. He turned around before reaching the summit, but could not retrace his steps on the way down. He started down a gully, and after a short fall, became stranded on a large chockstone in the gully. He spent two nights there before being reported overdue by friends who arrived at his house for a party which he was to be hosting. The next morning (September 24), Park Wardens found him, lowered him, and slung him out by helicopter. (Source: M. Ledwidge, Banff National Park Warden Service)


The stranded climber did not leave any reliable information as to where he was going, and he did not take the standard route to the summit of Cascade. It took a lot of investigation as well as the location of the victim’s bicycle at the base of the ascent route to determine his location.

Obtaining better route information could have prevented the accident. (Source: M. Ledwidge, Banff National Park Warden Service)

(Editor’s Note: This is not an accident which happened to a climber. Cascade Mountain is a prominent peak close to the Trans-Canada Highway and close to the Banff townsite. It has often been the scene of hikers or scramblers wandering into rock climbing situations.)