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Falling Ice, Alberta, Banff National Park, Lake Louise, Louise Falls

FALLING ICE

Alberta, Banff National Park, Lake Louise, Louise Falls

On February 22, an ice climber at Louise Falls was injured in an accident similar to a fatal mishap that occurred a year ago at the same location. He was climbing solo and using a device to belay himself. The climber had completed the first pitch at the time of the accident. A 15 by 20-foot piece of ice broke apart from the icefall 50 feet above. Upon hearing the ice crash, the man dived for his nearest anchor and was darted by a number of pieces of ice. The segment which hit him was the approximately the size of a soccer ball. Several people were in the area that afternoon and assisted him to the base of the climb. A person contacted the warden service by cell phone. Wardens responded by snowmobile. (Source: Genevieve Behara, Banff Crag and Canyon)

Analysis

As we know, whenever there is a rapid and significant change in temperatures, ice responds by contracting or expanding. When the weather becomes colder, ice first expands and so is more likely to crack. The weather had been fairly mild until a sudden cold snap in the week before the incident.