American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Stranded, Poor Conditions, Alberta, Banff National Park, The Finger

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2003

STRANDED, POOR CONDITIONS

Alberta, Banff National Park, The Finger

On September 28, a party of two was reported overdue from a climb on the previous day. A search by Warden Service rescue crews was initiated and the party was located on the rappels on the north side of The Finger (II 5.5). They had spent the night on a small ledge. Overnight temperatures were in the -5 to -10 degree C range. The helicopter toed into a nearby ridge and a rescuer was dropped off to make voice contact with the party. They requested assistance. A party was inserted by heli-sling onto the summit and the climbers were raised back to the top. They were then evacuated by heli-sling from the summit.

Analysis

Although it is likely that the climbers could have continued the rappels down to the notch below, they were unaware that the third-class slabs below were covered in snow from early season snowfalls. It would have been very difficult to negotiate this terrain safely. (Source: Parks Canada Warden Service, Marc Ledwidge)

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