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Slip on Ice, Unroped, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Scott Icefield

SLIP ON ICE, UNROPED

Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Scott Icefield

On August 18, 1993, J.B. and A.G. were out for a day trip on the Scott Glacier. J.B. was walking above A.G. and about 60 meters above the toe of the glacier, when J.B. slipped and fell. The ice was too steep and hard for him to self-arrest, and he slid out of sight below A.G. A.G. descended to look for him, but fell near the base and also slid off the toe, injuring his shoulder in doing so. He located J.B. nearby about five minutes later. J.B. was conscious and walking, but very disoriented, with lacerations and contusions to his face and back, as well as broken teeth.

A third member of the party, J.C., who had stayed in camp at the toe of the glacier, arrived and began first aid on J.B. J.B. was given a thermarest and sleeping bag, and then A.G. walked out to Moab Lake to report the accident to Jasper Warden Service. Wardens evacuated the injured party with a helicopter as darkness approached.

Analysis

The two climbers had adequate experience and equipment, but self-arresting on bare ice is usually impossible. Most climbers do not take into account how difficult it is, and how quickly one accelerates on sloping ice, even at a low angle. Being roped and placing protection along the way is recommended under these conditions. (Source: Jasper National Park Warden Service)