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Avalanche, Ice Anchor Failure-Fall on Ice, Baffin Island, Auyuittuq National Park, Mount Breidablik

AVALANCHE, ICE ANCHOR FAILURE—FALL ON ICE

Baffin Island, Auyuittuq National Park, Mount Breidablik

On July 8, after reaching the summit of Mount Breidablik, a group of 14 began descending their route of ascent. They had climbed the prominent glacier visible from Summit Lake at Pangnirtung Pass. The snow and ice slope is 45 degrees at its steepest. In order to facilitate the descent for such a large group, the party fixed their climbing ropes with screw-anchors every 50 meters. The last climber would down-climb and pull the ropes and anchors as he descended. The lowest climber was waiting at a two-screw anchor when an avalanche released from above. The avalanche hit the lowest climber and the anchor failed. He was swept 200 meters down-slope and suffered a broken leg in the fall. The victim was stabilized by a doctor in the group and one member descended to the Park Warden Patrol Cabin at Summit Lake. Fortunately, a Medium helicopter working in Qikiqtarjuaq (Broughton Island) was available and dispatched to the accident scene. The helicopter was able to land nearby and the patient was evacuated to Pangnirtung. Fixed wing aircraft then flew him to the hospital in Iqaluit by Nunavut Health Services. (Source: Parks Canada Warden Service, Marc Ledwidge)