American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Falling Rock — Pulling Rappel Rope Down, Poor Position, British Columbia, Bugaboo Glacier Provincial Park, Snowpatch Spire

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


British Columbia, Bugaboo Glacier Provincial Park, Snowpatch Spire

In August, a party of three climbers had completed the final rappel after climbing the Kraus-McCarthy route on Snowpatch Spire, and were standing at the base while the rope was pulled down. The rope dislodged a rock the size of a grapefruit, and A.B. was struck on the forearm. His companions conducted first aid and assisted A.B. to the Kain Hut. The injury was not serious, and he regained movement of the arm and hand in a few days.


The potential existed for this situation to have been much more serious, as a rock of that size falling from any more than a few meters can be a deadly missile, and a helmet may not be effective against it. Pulling of a rope always requires constant vigilance for rock- fall. (Source: Bugaboo Glacier Provincial Park Ranger)

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