American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock — Hand Hold Came Off, Off Route, Alberta, Castle Mountain, Goat Plateau Approach

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1998

FALL ON ROCK—HAND HOLD CAME OFF, OFF ROUTE

Alberta, Castle Mountain, Goat Plateau Approach

On July 15, a party of two climbers scrambled up the standard approach for the Castle Mountain bivi hut. During the approach, they lost the rough trail and ended up off route in a series of cliff bands and gullies. The climbers were aware that they were off route but elected to continue, as they were on easy 5th Class terrain. The lower climber fell when a handhold broke away, and she tumbled several hundred meters down the mountain, suffering fatal head injuries. The Warden Service was contacted and evacuated the victim by helicopter.

Analysis

Neither climber was wearing a helmet at the time and the rope was stowed in the pack. While a helmet may not have prevented the massive head injury, the use of a rope may have. The victim was wearing a heavy pack at the time and this may have contributed to the fall. (Source: Parks Canada Warden Service)

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