American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall in Crevasse, Inadequate Equipment, Inexperience, British Columbia, Rocky Mountains, Mount Robson

  • Accident Reports
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  • Publication Year: 1994

FALL IN CREVASSE, INADEQUATE EQUIPMENT, INEXPERIENCE

British Columbia, Rocky Mountains, Mount Robson

C.C. and W.R. were descending Mount Robson (3955 meters) on August 5, 1993, after climbing the Fuhrer Ridge. As they were crossing the Robson Glacier, W.R. cut too close to the edge of an open crevasse and collapsed the lip. He fell about 20 meters and pulled his partner within about 15 meters from the edge before reaching a snow platform. W.R. was not injured and had voice contact with C.C., but W.R. could not get out on his own, and C.C. was unable to extricate him.

Fortunately, a party of nine, led by two ACMG guides, were coming up the Robson Glacier, and C.C. yelled for their help. The guides were unable to contact the Robson Ranger Service by radio, but established communication with Jasper National Park, who then initiated a rescue. The large group on the glacier continued toward the accident scene to assess the situation as a Jasper Warden Service rescue team geared up and boarded a helicopter.

When the ACMG guides reached the crevasse, they set up a hauling system, using T- slot anchors and a drop loop. The rescue helicopter then arrived, and the wardens helped with the extrication. C.C. and W.R. were evacuated by helicopter to the Mount Robson Rescue Base.

Analysis

The two climbers did not recognize the crevasse hazard and, consequently, one fell in. They lacked knowledge of crevasse rescue techniques and so were unable to extricate W.R. Without the second party on the mountain to respond and call for help by radio, this accident could have, in the opinion of one of the guides, become a fatality. (Source: Jasper National Park Warden Service)

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