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Falling Rock—Dislodged, Fall on Snow, No Belay or Protection, Alberta, Banff National Park, Mount Lefroy

FALLING ROCK-DISLODGED, FALL ON SNOW, NO BELAY OR PROTECTION

Alberta, Banff National Park, Mount Lefroy

On August 18, four climbers were ascending the 45-degree snow-and-ice route on Mount Lefroy. They were traveling as two independent rope teams, moving together with short lengths of rope between the climbers. At 3400 meters, the route narrows into a gully bordered by rock. One of the lead climbers dislodged a rock which struck the lower climber, causing both members of the team to lose their balance and fall about 300 meters down the route. The other two climbers climbed down to assess and stabilize them. One climber descended to the Abbot Pass Hut to use the emergency phone. Upon discovering that the phone was not working, he began heading further down the mountain for help when he ran into another climber with a cell phone. Both climbers were evacuated via heli-sling by Warden Service rescue crews. They had sustained multiple fractures, bruising, and puncture wounds from crampons.

Analysis

It is common practice for climbers to travel together with a short length of rope between them on straightforward terrain. Part of the challenge and risk in mountaineering includes assessing when the terrain and conditions dictate setting up anchors and pitching out the route. (Source: Parks Canada Warden Service)