American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, No "Spotting" Protection, British Columbia, Purcell Mountains, Vowell Group

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1991

FALL ON ROCK, NO “SPOTTING” PROTECTION

British Columbia, Purcell Mountains, Vowell Group

A large group from the ACC General Mountaineering Camp below the Vowell Glacier were bouldering at Tamarack Glen above the north margin of the glacier on July 27, 1990, when one of them, J.D., lost her balance on a ledge, and dropped to the ground about three meters below, doing “two spectacular leaps” on the way and striking her heels three times in all. She then had difficulty walking, because of pain.

The subject’s feet were immersed in cold water to reduce swelling, and the group then helped her to get down the exposed moraine to the Vowell Glacier and about one kilometer back to the camp. She suffered a chipped metatarsal bone in her left foot.

Analysis

The group leader had clearly advised everyone to stay low on the rocks and to have a “spotter” for protection. The subject did not take the advice seriously enough—all too easy to do in pleasant surroundings. (Source: Fred Stanley, Lee Tibbert)

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