American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Snow/Ice, Unroped, British Columbia, Purcell Mountains, Vowell Group

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


British Columbia, Purcell Mountains, Vowell Group

On August 1, 1990, two climbers were descending snow and ice unroped, about 50 meters below the summit of Peak 9250 (north of Little Howser) when one of them slipped on loose rock under his crampon, and tumbled about ten meters, badly injuring his left ankle.

His partner descended alone until able to get the attention of an Alpine Club of Canada party crossing the Vowell Glacier below. While the ACC General Mountaineering Camp was being notified, two persons lowered the victim several pitches down steep snow and made him as comfortable as possible on the glacier.

A backup ACC party arrived at 2130, too late for helicopter evacuation, but set up a camp and took over care of the victim, while the first party returned to the G.M. camp.

The victim and his partner were evacuated by helicopter at first light the next morning. The injury was a fracture of the left ankle.


The victim was experienced, but one rescuer was quite emphatic that he would not have undertaken to descend the slope on which the accident happened. Perhaps the style of descent was inappropriate. In any case, a rope is often useful in such situations. (Source: Fred Stanley, Lee Tibbert)

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