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Fall on Snow and Rock, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Blakiston

FALL ON SNOW AND ROCK

Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Blakiston

On July 7, 1990, a party of five climbed the Class 4 south gully on Mount Blakiston. They were beginning their descent by traversing a small, moderately angled slope when the leader slipped and slid 15 meters into rocks, suffering a broken tibia and several gashes and contusions. With the help of his group, he was able to continue the 1000-meter descent to the valley trail. One person had been sent ahead to alert the Waterton Warden Service, who then completed the evacuation, using a wheeled mountain stretcher.

Analysis

More snow existed on this route than has been the norm for that time of year. The group carried ice axes, but no ropes or crampons, and did not appear to be aware of the immediate consequences of a fall on steep snow. By avoiding the snowfields, or being prepared to self-arrest, they may have prevented the accident. (Source: B. Kozachenko, Warden Service, Waterton Lakes National Park)