FALL ON ROCK, COMBING SOLO, NO HARD HAT
Quebec, Charlevoix Mountains, Mont du Gros Bras
On September 3, 1989, at 1645, Alain S. (29) was climbing solo on Hallunbeinbrunch, a difficult 300-meter route. He was wearing a harness with some hardware, but no helmet. About 100 meters from the start, he came off and fell all the way to the ground, hitting a few ledges on the way down. After a brief search, other climbers found him in the woods about 12 meters below the start of the route. He was still breathing when found. First aid was applied to his numerous head wounds, and he was carried by stretcher to the road, where an ambulance picked him up and took him to hospital. He died the next morning of multiple skull fractures. (Source: Denis Gravel, Federation Quebecois de la Montagne)
We will never really know what caused Alain’s fall. However, the morning of the same day, he had climbed another route on Mont du Gros Bras with a companion. His decision to make a solo climb of another route at the end of the day is probably an underlying cause of the accident. Fatigue from the previous ascent (another 300-meter route) as well as the short time until darkness (at 1845) were probably factors that contributed to his fall.
Alain was a good climber. He was also one of the new generation of climbers who disregard danger in the interest of performance. This was not his first solo, nor his first fall. Solo climbing always carries risks, and those who do it must realize that the smallest error can be fatal. (Source: Denis Gravel, Federation Quebecoise de la Montagne)