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Fall on Rock, Unroped, Handhold Came Off, British Columbia, Rocky Mountains, Mount Assiniboine

FALL ON ROCK, UNROPED, HANDHOLD CAME OFF

British Columbia, Rocky Mountains, Mount Assiniboine

On September 21, two climbers were beginning the standard North Ridge route of Mt. Assiniboine (3620 meters). The route was in excellent late-season condition with hard firm snow, which necessitated the use of crampons for the entire ascent, including short mixed sections. After stepping off the initial snow slopes, they started climbing a short step of loose fourth-class rock. About three meters up, the lower climber pulled off a loose handhold and fell backward onto the 35-degree snow slope, then slid down about 100 meters, catching a crampon on the way.

The crampon came off her boot. Her partner helped her to get back to the Hind Hut at the base of the route and then descended to Lake Magog to request help. The victim was evacuated later in the day, by helicopter. She sustained a third-degree knee sprain and a first-degree ankle sprain.

Analysis

Both climbers were very experienced and comfortable soloing on this terrain, but loose rock is typical for the range, and in this case the use of a rope may have prevented the injury. She was unable to self arrest because her ice ax had been put away before they started up the rock. (Source: Marc Ledwidge, Banff National Park Warden Service)