American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Handhold Broke, Solo Hiking/Scrambling, Alberta, Jasper National Park, Mount Woolley

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

FALL ON ROCK, HANDHOLD BROKE, SOLO HIKING/SCRAMBLING

Alberta, Jasper National Park, Mount Woolley

Late in the afternoon on August 5, D.E. was approaching the col between Mounts Woolley and Cromwell, en route to the Lloyd MacKay—Mount Alberta Hut. D.E. pulled on what appeared to be a solid handhold, but it broke free. D.E. lost his balance and fell backward, tumbling head over heels, over a three meter high rock step, for a total distance of 20 meters. Aside from several cuts and bruises and spraining both hands, D.E. received a severe blow/puncture to his left knee. D.E. was able to get to the Mount Alberta hut by 2200.

On August 14, D.E.’s parents notified the Jasper Warden Service that their son was overdue. D.E. had left a detailed route description of his extensive hiking trip with his parents. The Mount Alberta Hut was the first place checked by a warden in a helicopter. D.E. was found at 1000 hours. Although his knee had been healing without infection, he was unable to fully weight bear on his leg.

Analysis

While this accident does not necessarily fit into the mountaineering category, it is included to indicate the seriousness of solo travel in the mountains. D.E. had planned to do a multi-day hike/scramble in a very remote area with no trail system and extremely few visitors. Had this accident occurred on a different leg of his journey, further away from the hut, the search for him would have been more complex. D.E. was lucky his injuries were not more debilitating, as he would have had no one to care for him or activate rescue services sooner. Fortunately, D.E. left a detailed route plan with his parents and strict instructions for when to call for a rescue if he was not out. (Source: Jasper National Park Warden Service, L.P.)

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