American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Ice, Inadequate Protection, Self-Belay Failure, Alberta, Kananaskis Valley, Kidd Falls

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

FALL ON ICE, INADEQUATE PROTECTION, SELF-BELAY FAILURE Alberta, Kananaskis Valley, Kidd Falls

On November 23, S.M. (21) and a partner set off to climb the big waterfall below Mount Kidd's Gunbarrel Gully above Galatea Creek, obvious from Kananaskis Highway 40 south of the mountain. Early in the day, S.M. was leading high above his belay, when he stopped to place a screw for protection. While doing so, his tools pulled and he fell some 20 meters, sustaining two fractured and one crushed vertebrae. He was unconscious for approximately five minutes, but then revived, complaining of back pain. He had a deformity in the thoracic region of his back, so his partner left him at the base of the falls to hike out for help, and called Kananaskis Emergency Services about noon. (Source: Kananaskis Country Alpine Specialist)

Analysis

The condition of the ice on this warm day may have contributed to the victim's tools pulling. Placing protection lower on the climb would have perhaps prevented the victim from hitting the bottom of the climb. (Source: Geoff Powter)

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