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Overdue, Weather Poor Navigation, Climbing Alone, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Columbia Ice Field


Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Columbia Ice Field

On July 22, D. E.(52) started up the Athabasca Glacier on his way to Mt. Columbia, and reached its summit (3748 meters) in a whiteout at 1600. Starting out toward the road, he biwied on the ice field south of Snow dome. Next morning he broke camp at 1000, intending to descend the Athabasca Glacier, but again in a whiteout, he got disoriented and reached steep terrain south of Mt. Andromeda. Then, thinking he was somewhere to the north, he turned south, hoping to descend Saskatchewan Glacier; however, in reality he was heading down Castle Guard Glacier. Continuing well below tree line, he realized something was wrong, turned back, and camped that night below the glacier. On July 24, he started traveling at 0500, got his bearings sorted out, and was on his way to Athabasca Glacier at 1250 when he was located and picked up, in good condition, by Jasper Park wardens. (Source: Steve Blake, Jasper National Park Warden Service)


D. E. had intermediate experience and good equipment, but apart from the simplicity of independent travel, soloing in the Columbia Icefields has little to recommend it, and is discouraged because of the hazards involved. In this case, D. E. managed to avoid them. (Source: Orvel Miskiw)