American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Ice, Inadequate Protection, Alberta, Banff National Park, Louise Falls

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2002


Alberta, Banff National Park, Louise Falls

On February 14, T.T. was leading the final crux pitch of this popular Grade 4+ ice climb. He placed two or three ice screws above the belay on the steepest part of the pillar, the last one protecting the exit moves onto a low angled section. He began to climb the final steep step, when he fell approximately 30 meters to the bottom of the pillar, bouncing off the low angled section and onto the lower angled terrain below the belay. He sustained an ankle and back injury in the fall. Two mountain guides were guiding clients nearby and lowered the injured climber to the base of the route. The accident was reported by cell phone to Banff Warden Dispatch. Warden Service rescue crews arrived as the injured climber reached the base of the route. He was then evacuated by heli-sling to the valley below.


It is sometimes tempting to not place protection after the crux is completed. It is not known why the climber fell, but the distance of his fall may have been significantly reduced had he placed a screw on the low angled terrain between the two steep sections. (Source: Parks Canada Warden Service, L.M., T.T.)

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