Stranded, Off Route, Inexperience, Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Edith

Publication Year: 1999.


Alberta, Rocky Mountains, Mount Edith

On August 5, two climbers were attempting the South Ridge (II, 5.4) of Mount

Edith, but missed the start and got off route and onto steep limestone on the east face. They were lost and eventually both took leader falls trying to push a line towards the ridge. They gave up and then waited until they knew they would be overdue the next morning. A warden service rescue party flying back from another mission in the Lake Louise area flew by the mountain on the way back to Banff to check on the climbers. They knew the party was not due out till later, but were simply checking on their progress. The climbing party waved frantically to attract attention. In failing light and with an approaching lightning storm, a rescue party of two was placed on the ridge above by helicopter with a difficult toe-in landing. Bolts were drilled on the ridge and using a rope rescue winch. A rescuer was lowered down twice to raise the two climbers to the ridge. All four people bivouacked and were flown out at first light. Fortunately, all the lightning strikes during the night missed the ridge.


This was the climbers’ first route in the Rockies. They had rock climbed in Eastern Canada, but had no mountaineering experience. Missing the start of the route lead them into steep difficult limestone. (Source: Parks Canada Warden Service)