American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Ice, Equipment Failure, Exceeding Abilities, Roped but not Belayed, Inadequate Equipment, Inexperience, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Andromeda

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

FALL ON ICE, EQUIPMENT FAILURE, EXCEEDING ABILITIES, ROPED BUT NOT BELAYED, INADEQUATE EQUIPMENT, INEXPERIENCE

Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Andromeda

On October 7, 1991, Andrew H. and Janies H. climbed the east ridge of Mount Andromeda and reached the east peak at 1605. After a break, they started to descend the north bowl, at which time Andrew lost one of his crampons. They then had to move slower, and it was late in the day, so they decided to bivouac.

The following morning about 1000, Andrew tripped during the descent, and fell down the slope. James tried to hold him by self-arresting. As the rope came tight, Andrew, who was then sliding down with some speed, flew across a crevasse and against the icewall on the far side, and then fell to the bottom. At that time, the force on the rope dislodged James from his hold on the ice, and he was pulled into the same crevasse, falling on top of his partner. Andrew sustained a deep laceration to his forehead, complained of chest pains, and eventually became hypothermic. James was not injured. The following day, they were reported overdue. The Canadian Park Warden Service Search and Rescue located and evacuated them. (Source: Canadian Parks Service, Jasper)

Analysis

This team set out to climb an alpine route on steep snow and ice, traveling across glaciers with large crevasses and icefalls, with inadequate equipment and limited experience. They carried no ice screws or other protection for this type of terrain except for a 45 cm ice tool. Neither person had a helmet or repair kit. When Andrew lost a screw from his crampon, he was unable to fix it prior to losing it on the descent. (Source: Canadian Parks Service, Jasper)

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