American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Heavy Pack, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Yamnuska

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

FALL ON ROCK, HEAVY PACK

Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Yamnuska

On August 28,1994, Stan and Pam were attempting the seven-pitch, 5.8 A1 route “Corkscrew” on Mt. Yamnuska, and had completed the first two pitches. Pam was seconding the third pitch when she took a short swinging fall at a difficult bulge about three meters along a traverse near the start, and badly injured an ankle. Two other climbers nearby, Jeff and Jacquie, began to climb up to help, while Denis K. reported the accident at the Bow Valley Park office at about 1515, after a relay of messages down the slopes. Park rangers reached Mt. Yamnuska shortly afterward, and RCMP were notified. About 1545, Alpine Helicopters, from Canmore, flew two rangers to view the scene close up; another ranger was at the base of the cliff and made voice contact with Jeff and Jacquie, who had just reached the injured climber. She relayed the message that Stan, Jacquie, and Jeff would lower Pam to the bottom of the route.

Two rangers were flown to the base of the cliff by helicopter sling to wait for the victim. The lower was complete by about 1645, and another ranger was slung up to assist. Within a half hour, Pam had been slung out to the road and transferred to Bow Valley Ambulance for transport to hospital in Canmore. She was diagnosed as having fractures of both tibia and fibula, stabilized, given Demerol, and later transferred to hospital in Calgary for surgery. (Source: Pam, and George Field, Alpine Specialist, Kananaskis Country)

Analysis

Pam feels the protection placed by the lead climber was adequate for the situation, but she was carrying a larger pack than usual, and that compounded the difficulty of small holds as she tried to move past the steep bulge. Even though her fall was only about five to six meters on a diagonal, an awkward impact with the rock caused her ankle fractures. (Source: Pam, the victim)

This ANAM article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.