American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Overdue, Difficulty Following Route, Poor Conditions—Snow, Inexperience, Frostbite, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Edith Cavell

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1996

OVERDUE, DIFFICULTY FOLLOWING ROUTE, POOR CONDITIONS—SNOW, INEXPERIENCE, FROSTRITE

Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Edith Cavell

On September 30, G. M. (30) and partner (39) climbed the East Ridge of Mt. Edith Cavell (3363 meters). The route was in poor condition, with snow Although adequately equipped, they were relatively inexperienced and had trouble with route finding. A 40- hour round trip resulted.

Meanwhile, the climbers were reported overdue, and a helicopter search was under-taken the following day. They were located returning on the trail, about five kilometers from the road. They had both sustained some frostbite, one to his hands, and the other to his toes. (Source: Steve Blake, Jasper National Park Warden Service)

Analysis

Cavells East Ridge is considered a one-day climb, though it’s usually a full day. Late returns are usual and bivouacs common. Good research on it is more important than for many other mountain climbs, and inexperienced climbers especially are advised to get a detailed description of the entire circuit from someone familiar with the route, then take a reconnaissance hike to the base, and start well before dawn on the day of their climb. Though a moderate challenge overall, it contains a number of potential snags which can cause unnecessary delays. (Source: Orvel Miskiw)

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