American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Fall on Rock, Climbing Solo, No Hard Hat, Inexperience, British Columbia, Rocky Mountains, Mount Wardle

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


British Columbia, Rocky Mountains, Mount Wardle

On June 23, 1989, Ben (21) and his brother Uli (23) decided to make an attempt to climb Mount Wardle via the East Face. After completing a very difficult bushwhack to reach the base of the climb, they worked their separate ways to the bottom of the face. Uli, who had gotten onto a ridge, hurt his ankle and decided to turn around and head back to camp, leaving his brother who wanted to continue on.

This was the last time Uli saw his brother alive. Ben continued on until he was about three quarters of the way up the face. It was at this point that he fell 300 meters to his death, ending up near the bottom of the face. The next morning, Uli notified the Kootenay Park Warden Service that his brother had not returned. The Warden Service used a Parks Rescue helicopter to sling in to the site and remove Ben’s body. (Source: Kootenay National Park Warden Service)


Neither brother had done more than a little rock climbing. They were climbing in running shoes with no rope or other protection. The bottom part of the East Face of Mount Wardle is easy climbing, but as one gets higher on the face, the climb increases in difficulty, tending to lure an inexperienced climber into a position from which it is hard to downclimb. The fall may have been caused by rockfall or by an attempt to downclimb. (Source: Kootenay National Park Warden Service)

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