AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Fall on Snow, Climbing Unroped, Alberta, Mount Temple, Greenwood/Locke Route

FALL ON SNOW, CLIMBING UNROPED

Alberta, Mount Temple, Greenwood/Locke Route

On August 20, a party of two attempted the Greenwood/Locke Route (V, 5.9 A1). The two got a predawn start and reached the rock pitches above the upper icefield in good time. The pitches were very wet and they decided to retreat. They rappelled and down- climbed the majority of the lower route, then unroped to descend the final snow gully. The lowest climber was moving down the gully, facing out, when he lost his footing. He attempted to self-arrest and was partially successful. Before he could stop himself, a crampon hooked and he began to tumble, falling 200 meters to the scree below. His partner continued to descend the route and found his partner dead from massive head injuries. The second climber descended to the trail, and with the help of a cell phone from nearby hikers, contacted Warden Service Dispatch.

Analysis

Both climbers were very experienced. With the steepness of the descent gully and the short ice axes carried, it may have been better to descend the gully facing in, rather than out. (Source: Parks Canada Warden Service)