American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Stranded, Exceeding Abilities, Weather, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Andromeda

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

STRANDED, EXCEEDING ABILITIES, WEATHER Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Andromeda

A party consisting of two men and a woman set out to climb the “Sky Ladder” route on Mount Andromeda on the morning of June 21,1993. By 1400 they were on the summit. As they approached the descent route, the weather began to deteriorate. As a result of poor visibility, fatigue, and the exposure of the descent route, the woman decided not to continue. After a lengthy discussion, the group decided that they would build a shelter for her to stay in while the two men continued down to ask the Warden Service to help her off the mountain. They then worked their way down, reaching their car at 2338, and then notified the wardens.

Because of poor weather conditions in the morning, it was necessary for rescuers to climb to the position of the stranded climber, and she was found in surprisingly good condition, considering the extreme weather she had to endure. Shortly after their arrival, a small break in the weather allowed a helicopter to reach and evacuate them.

Analysis

The leader overestimated the experience and abilities of the team members, and he underestimated the length of the outing. The decision to leave one member alone high on the mountain is generally not recommended, although it may have been the best choice in this case, especially if they had not registered with the Parks Service. A lone person attempting a hazardous descent through the badly crevassed exit route would not stand a good chance of reaching safety and help at all.

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