AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Fall on Snow and Rock, Roped but not Belayed, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Collier

FALL ON SNOW AND ROCK, ROPED RUT NOT RELAYED

Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Collier

On August 18, 1991, a party of four were proceeding up from the Victoria-Collier col to the summit of Mount Collier as two ropes of two when they encountered a steep snow slope. The party leader, Hans, belayed his partner, Gerry, across the slope to a rock outcrop, and then followed on the rope but without belay. Halfway across the slope, he slipped and could not self-arrest. He slid into the rocks below and over a low cliff, and then Gerry was able to hold him from falling farther. The second rope team helped to bring Hans up onto a ledge, and then left to get help. They were benighted on their way out, and reached Lake Louise the next morning. The injured climber and his partner were helicopter-slung out by the Warden Service later that day. (Source: Banff National Park Warden Service)

Analysis

Traverses on steep snow slopes can be difficult to protect. A combination of poor techniques, crampons becoming clogged with wet snow, and lack of a belay caused this accident. (Source: Banff National Park Warden Service)