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Fall on Rock, Wrong Route, Inappropriate Equipment — Alberta, Banff National Park, Castle Mountain

FALL ON ROCK, WRONG ROUTE, INAPPROPRIATE EQUIPMENT

Alberta, Banff National Park, Castle Mountain

On July 27 a party of two began climbing what they thought was the popular Brewers Buttress route, II, 5.6. Unfortunately, they were one buttress too far to the north. On the first pitch, the leader fell about 20 meters with his belayer stopping him one meter above the ground. His highest piece of protection failed but the next one held him and prevented a ground fall. He sustained hand and arm fractures as well as head trauma. His partner was able to call for help with a cell phone. He was evacuated by heli-sling shortly afterwards.

Analysis

The injured climber was planning on using this multi-pitch rock route as “training ground” for alpine routes. He was wearing plastic boots. Most climbers use rock shoes in this terrain. It is fortunate that the one piece of protection held and that his belayer was able to stop him before he hit the ground. One can only speculate what kind of difficulties they may have encountered higher up in this uncharted terrain. (Source: Parks Canada Warden Service)