American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Placed Inadequate Protection, Exceeding Abilities, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Canmore Area, Stoneworks Crag

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1995

FALL ON ROCK, PLACED INADEQUATE PROTECTION, EXCEEDING ABILITIES

Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Canmore Area, Stoneworks Crag

At about 1730 on July 10, 1994, Ian B. was climbing with two friends at the Stoneworks when he took a two-meter leader fall near the top of a pitch. His last protection placement redirected his downward momentum toward the face, and he suffered a compound fracture of the right ankle on impact. He was lowered to the ground and then one companion, Ty, ran out to report the accident, while the other stayed with Ian and helped him hop down the trail past the narrow gorge. After phoning an acquaintance in Canmore, Ty returned and helped the other friend improvise a stretcher, with which they carried Ian, in extreme pain, down to the trailhead. Then they supported his injured leg while he rode his bike to the hospital. Meanwhile, Bow Valley Provincial Park received first notification just before 2000, more than two hours after the accident, and initiated a rescue operation, involving the RCMP, several rangers, and a helicopter. About 45 minutes later, rescuers flew over the accident scene and saw packs and climbing equipment in various places, but no people. The victim and his friends were making their own way to the hospital at that time, and arrived shortly after 2100. Ian's ankle required surgery. (Source: George Field, Alpine Specialist, Kananaskis Country)

Analysis

If possible, more frequent protection placements should be made in such a situation, to minimize the distance fallen. Kananaskis Country officials are concerned about the amount of time that went by after the accident before they were informed. They say it's important that the right agency be contacted about an emergency, either the RCMP or Canmore Ambulance in this case. (Source: Orvel Miskiw, and the “Canmore Leader”)

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