American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Ice, Protection (Tools) Pulled, Alberta, Banff National Park, Mount Murchison, Balfour Wall

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2004

FALL ON ICE, PROTECTION (TOOLS) PULLED

Alberta, Banff National Park, Mount Murchison, Balfour Wall

On February 9, R.C. (40) was with a large group climbing on the Balfour Wall, an area with a variety of one-pitch top-ropeable ice climbs on the lower slopes of Mount Murchison in Banff National Park. R.C. was about halfway up a pitch that he was leading and had stopped to place his first screw. His tools pulled out and he fell down to the base of the pitch and broke both of his ankles. Part of the team descended to the Icefields Parkway where they flagged down a passing Parks vehicle and reported the accident. A warden rescue team heli-slung into the site, splinted both ankles, and R.C. was heli-slung out to a waiting ambulance.

Analysis

Broken lower limbs are the most common injury in ice climbing falls. It is also fairly common to break both legs/ankles. The only real way to prevent such injuries while ice climbing is not to fall. (Source: Parks Canada Warden Service, Bradford White)

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