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Falling Rock—Handhold Came Off, Quebec, Gatineau Park, Home Cliff

FALLING ROCK-HANDHOLD CAME OFF

Quebec, Gatineau Park, Home Cliff

On April 15, several climbers were top-roping on “Home Cliff” at the Luskville Escarpment. C.M. (33) had reached the top of his climb and was making his way above the other climbers over to one of the anchors. There is a low angled slab above the middle route where the anchors are located. C.M. was partway up the slab and was on a ledge, approximately six meters back from the edge of the cliff. He stepped down from the ledge onto the slab and felt something move under his feet. He then noticed a boulder, 45 centimeters in diameter, rolling towards the edge of the cliff about three meters away from him. He yelled “rock” to the climbers below. The rock landed on the left foot of one of the belayers.

A cell phone was used to call emergency services. Other climbers applied first aid to the victim, P.M. All of the climbers in the area assisted with P.M.’s evacuation, which involved moving him in a litter down steep terrain via a system of belays and fixed ropes. P.M suffered soft tissue damage and had to have one of his middle toes partly amputated. (Source: Diana MacGibbon, Ottawa)

Analysis

It is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of rock fall while climbing. In this case, it is lucky that nobody suffered greater injuries. (Source: Nancy Hansen)