American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Placed No Protection (Leader), Inadequate Protection (Belayer), Exceeding Abilities, Off Route, Inexperience, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Canmore Area, East End of Rundle

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1992


Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Canmore Area, East End of Rundle

On the evening of Monday, July 8, 1991, rangers at Peter Lougheed Provincial Park received a report that an S. Craig was overdue on a weekend climbing trip somewhere in Banff or Kananaskis Country. He had not returned Sunday evening or appeared at work on Monday, which was uncharacteristic of him. Greg’s vehicle was located by a ranger at 2005, halfway up the hill above Canmore, on the Spray-Smith Dorrien Trail, and Canmore RCMP were notified, along with the Parks Branch Alpine Specialist. RCMP authorized a helicopter search, so a machine from Canadian Helicopters was obtained, and flew the area at 2105. Two bodies were located on the scree below the high cliffs of EEOR at 2110, and one was identified as that of the overdue climber. They were still roped together, and based on the arrangement of equipment, it was

apparent that the climbers had been about two or three ropelengths up the cliff on the “Mackay Route,” and Greg had been belaying using a figure-8 brake connected to an anchor consisting of two chocks (#4 and #5 “Rocks”), equalized by a figure-8-on-a- bight knot in the climbing rope. His partner had been leading and placed no protection before he fell. The force of the fall thus came directly onto Greg, and pulled out both chocks; both climbers and all their equipment then fell down the face to the scree. The recovery operation was complete at 2300. (Source: George Field, Alpine Specialist, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park)


From the type of footwear the victims were wearing (trail boots), it is assumed they were not very experienced as climbers. Also, that type of boots would ordinarily be considered quite inappropriate for the difficult “Mackay Route,” and so it is supposed that they had intended to climb the “Guide’s Route,” which is much easier, but which looks similar as viewed from the position of their car. (Source: George Field, Alpine Specialist, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park)

This ANAM article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.