American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Ice, Placed No Protection, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Aberdeen

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

FALL ON ICE, PLACED NO PROTECTION

Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Aberdeen

A party of four were starting up the bare lower ice slopes of the North Glacier on Mt. Aberdeen (3152 meters) on July 23, 1994. They were roped together with a spacing of about 10 meters, with no protection or belays. The leader fell, dragging his party down with him and nearly knocking off a party of three below them. They slid about 100 meters onto the rocks below the ice tongue. One person suffered a serious compound leg fracture and a compound elbow fracture, as well as minor injuries. The leader and the other two party members sustained minor injuries.

The second climbing party assisted in stabilizing the badly injured climber and sent someone for help. The victim was treated on site by a rescue team, and then transported by helicopter sling. The rest of the party were also evacuated.

Analysis

Although the ice where the accident occurred has a slope of only about 30 to 35 degrees, the possibility of holding an unprotected fall is virtually nil for climbers below. If a rope is used on this terrain, belays and protection should also be used. (Source: Marc Ledwidge, Banff National Park Warden Service)

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