American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Falling Rock, Weather, British Columbia, Bugaboo Glacier Provincial Park, Bugaboo — Snowpatch Col

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

FALLING ROCK, WEATHER

British Columbia, Bugaboo Glacier Provincial Park, Bugaboo—Snowpatch Col

A party of three, N.G., J.G., and G.W., was ascending to the Bugaboo-Snowpatch Col using a rope at 0800 on August 4. A boulder slid down the slope above them with almost no warning, glanced off G.W. and struck N.J. squarely.

J.G. self-arrested the party and immediately provided first aid. N.G. had sustained a broken left femur and fractured right arm, and G.W. a hand injury. Another nearby climber ran to the B.C. Parks Kain Hut and alerted park rangers. Assistance was requested from the Parks Canada Warden Service. A warden service rescue team responded from Banff, and the patient was heli-slung from site and then flown to Brisco to a waiting ambulance. The climber who ran for help fell while running and injured his ribs. He was flown to the trailhead and met by his partner.

Analysis

This is the usual route to access the west side of the spires. Rockfall (natural and climbergenerated) is common there and is potentially a major hazard. Extremely warm temperatures in the days preceding the incident likely contributed to the spontaneous release of this large rock. (Source: Parks Canada Warden Service; Bugaboo Glacier Provincial Park Ranger; George Wallerstein, Participant).

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