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Fall on Rock, Climbing Alone and Unroped, British Columbia, Dowler Range, Mount Dougie Dowler


British Columbia, Dowler Range, Mount Dougie Dowler

N.S. (25) departed around noon on November 26, from Quadra Island by boat and landed at the most easterly of three creeks on the south side of Bute Inlet to attempt a solo climb of Mount Dougie Dowler (6,363 feet) in the Dowler Range on Bute Inlet, about 40 miles north of Powell River. The trek into the base of the mountain follows the creek and some fairly steep terrain likely requiring some bushwhacking. N.S. had left instructions with a friend on Quadra Island to get in touch with his family if he was not back within several days. He did not, however, leave details of the route he intended to take—only his destination.

On November 28, the friend contacted family as instructed. The first search was initiated by the auxiliary Coast Guard out of Campbell River, who quickly located the boat N.S. had left at the creek mouth. With no indication he had returned to the boat, it was decided to launch a search. Campbell River Search and Rescue became involved, and a helicopter was requested from a nearby logging company. On Nov. 29, the body of N.S. was located from the air in a snowfield. The site was about 1,000 feet below the summit and a fairly exposed and long climbing route. It was apparent on initial investigation that N.S. died after a fall of some distance, possibly from near the summit. The initial coroner’s report indicated that he fell at least 800 feet and that equipment failure was not being considered as a cause. Analysis

With no witnesses, it is not possible to say how this accident happened. It is included because it illustrates the additional risks in climbing alone and unroped. (Source: Paul Walton—B.C. Coroner’s Service, Nanaimo Daily News, and Jed Williamson)