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Rock Fall, Late Start, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Lefroy

ROCKFALL, LATE START

Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Lefroy

A party of two left Abbot Pass hut at 0900, August 14, 1994, to climb the snow and ice gullies of the standard West Face route on Mt. Lefroy (3423 meters). Partway up the route, a large rockfall occurred. Both climbers were struck and sustained minor injuries. They returned to the hut and sent someone for help. One of them was evacuated by helicopter later in the day, to the hospital in Banff. He was treated for minor back injuries and later released.

Analysis

Alpine snow and ice faces are subject to rockfall, particularly when the temperature rises. A predawn start is common practice for such a route, and would have been especially advisable at that time, as daytime temperatures were reaching record highs and overnight freezing was minimal. (Source: Marc Ledwidge, Banff National Park Warden Service)