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Fall on Rock, Unroped, Off Route, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Edith Cavell

FALL ON ROCK, UNROPED, OFF ROUTE

Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mouth Edith Cavell

On August 11, 1991, after summitting the east ridge of Mount Edith Cavell in mixed weather conditions, J.B. and J.L. had a short lunch break, and then began their descent via the west ridge.

After reaching a series of short, steep rock steps at 3293 meters, the decision was made to rappel. While down-climbing a few steps to reach the rappel station, J.B. apparentiy slipped; he tumbled past his partner and disappeared into the fog of clouds which shrouded the upper part of the mountain. The following morning his body was recovered by the Canadian Park Warden Service Search and Rescue. (Source: Canadian Parks Service, Jasper)

Analysis

The experience of the party was adequate for the objective. The primary cause of the fatality was human error and unfamiliarity with the descent, as the steep steps which they intended to rappel can be avoided completely by descending slightly to the southwest. (Source: Canadian Parks Service, Jasper)

(Editors Note: This kind of accident is frequent enough to mention once again the need for great caution around rappel stations, where people are likely to be tired after the climb, may be chilled after waiting for the anchor to be set up, and where exposure is often dangerous. In cases where one must move down over an edge to reach the anchor, it would be appropriate for each person to be belayed or provided a hand line until securely on rappel.)