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Fall in Crevasse — Alberta, Jasper National Park, Columbia Icefield

FALL IN CREVASSE

Alberta, Jasper National Park, Columbia Icefield

At 1840 on August 5, two climbers came off the Columbia Icefield to report that two members of their party of ten were injured and needed helicopter evacuation. All members were Russian Canadian and were planning to travel down the Columbia Glacier icefall from the trench. T.S. (37) was the middle member of a three-person rope team. She lost her balance while crossing a crevasse and fell in seven meters, injuring her head in the fall. M.S. (34), the last person on the rope, attempted to arrest T.S.’s fall, and was pulled into another crevasse. In the process, M.S. caught his crampon and injured his ankle. The remaining members of the group evacuated the fallen climbers from their respective crevasses and assisted them to a location where a helicopter could land.

Wardens flew to the accident site at the trench with a Bell 407 from Golden. The helicopter was able to land at the site, and the victims were loaded into the helicopter and were transported directly to Emergency Medical Services.

Analysis

The Columbia Glacier is an extremely broken icefall, which is difficult to navigate even under ideal circumstances. Falling into a crevasse is almost inevitable when attempting to travel through an icefall of this nature. (Source: Parks Canada Warden Service)