American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Rock Holding Protection Broke—Fall on Rock, Protecion Pulled Out, British Columbia, Yoho National Park, Mount Stephen

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2001

ROCK HOLDING PROTECTION BROKE OFF–FALL ON ROCK, PROTECTION PULLED OUT

British Columbia, Yoho National Park, Mount Stephen

On September 27, a party of three were attempting a new route on the China Wall of Mount Stephen. They had ascended the lower 300 meters of fifth class climbing on the route and were beginning the 500 meters of overhanging aid climbing. D.E. was leading an A3 pitch and was drilling a 5/16-inch rivet while hanging on a hook. Just after placing the hanger on the rivet, the rock broke under his hook and he fell about 20 meters, pulling out two removable bolts. He was finally caught by a 5/16-inch rivet. He sustained deep lacerations to his knee in the fall. The party contacted Warden Service dispatch by radio and rescue crews were overflying the scene shortly afterwards. With some extremely skillful flying, the rescue pilot with Alpine Helicopters was able to sling a rescuer into the scene and evacuate the injured climber. (Source: Parks Canada Warden Service)

Analysis

The climbers were using advanced and appropriate aid technique. Hooking and placing rivets are methods used sparingly by aid climbers to get them through stretches with few other options for protection. As rivets generally only hold body weight, D.E. was lucky that one stopped his long fall. (Source: Murray Toft)

(Editor’s note: There were several other climbing accidents which resulted in injury in British Columbia during 2000. We were unable to obtain sufficient data on these accidents to report them).

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