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Fall into Crevasse, Climbing Unroped, British Columbia, Bugaboo Mountains, Bugaboo Spire

FALL INTO CREVASSE, CLIMBING UNROPED

British Columbia, Bugaboo Mountains, Bugaboo Spire

On September 13, 1989, while crossing the Crescent Glacier after climbing the Kain Route on Bugaboo Sprie, John Ulricson (45) fell ten meters onto a snow bridge in a crevasse. I was traveling behind, carrying a rope. After about 30 minutes of work, John was out of the hole, but not without some dramatic moments. (Source: T. J. English (43), Hopewell, NJ)

Analysis

After seeing many other climbers traverse this short stretch of glacier unroped on a well established snow trail, we did not give the matter much thought. Normally, when we crossed glaciers, we roped up, but in this case we assumed Crescent was a benign glacier. Obviously this was not the case.

Additional Comments: John was wearing his helmet, parka, and harness. The helmet protected him on impact, the parka kept him from getting hypothermic, and the harness allowed him to securely tie in the rope from above.

In the fall, John lost one crampon and would have lost his ice ax if he had not had a leash. Without his remaining crampon and ice ax, I am convinced I would not have pulled him out of the crevasse. (Source: T. J. English, Hopewell, NJ)