American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Ice, Inadequate Protection, Alberta, Rocky Mountain, Sunwapta Pass Area, Panther Falls

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1994

FALL ON ICE, INADEQUATE PROTECTION, ICE COLLAPSE Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Sunwapta Pass Area, Panther Falls

On March 8,1993, K.P. and T.A. were climbing Panther Falls in the Sunwapta Pass area. One of them led out on a six-meter pillar, placed two screws for protection, and then ran the rope out to 45 meters. The ledge he was standing on collapsed, resulting in a ground fall, in which he suffered five fractured ribs, one lung punctured, and both lungs collapsed.

The climbers returned to their vehicle and drove to a hospital. The one kilometer hike and the 150 meter ascent to the road kept the victim breathing. (Source: Climbing Magazine)


A basic guideline for beginners is to be cautious to avoid climbing into a predicament where protection is necessary but impossible to place. All climbers should keep in mind that good protection reflects not only the difficulty of climbing, but also the exposure, as unforeseen problems, like this ledge collapse, may cause a dangerous fall, even on easy terrain. (Source: Orvel Miskiw)

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