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

Falling Ice, Fall on Ice — Alberta, Banff National Park, Mount Wilson, Oh Le Tabernac

FALLING ICE, FALL ON ICE

Alberta, Banff National Park, Mount Wilson, Oh Le Tabernac

On March 17 the lead climber of a party of two was ten meters up the first pitch of Oh Le Tabernac, a water ice Grade 5+ route. He was just above his second screw when he heard a cracking noise. He told his belayer about it just as the ice he was standing on broke free. A ten by three-meter piece broke off and he crashed to the ground sustaining multiple fractures and serious head trauma. His partner stabilized him and ran to the road to get help. He was evacuated by heli-sling by a warden service rescue crew, flown to the Banff hospital, and then flown to Calgary. He died a few days later from his injuries. Analysis

This route usually has a horizontal crack across it due to the detached nature of the pillar. Although many climbers comment on this feature, this is the first serious accident resulting from it. It is unclear how much ice fell on the victim, but given his injuries, it is likely that he was hit by the large piece which broke free. (Source: Parks Canada Warden Service)