FALLING ROCK, FALL ON ROCK
Alberta, Jasper National Park, Throne Mountain
On August 16, an experienced party of five were climbing the notched northeast ridge of Throne Mountain. After reaching the summit, the group was descending, mostly unroped, in third class terrain. At one of the notches, three members of the group were awaiting their turn to tie into the ropes and ascend when one of the leading members dislodged a rock. P.K. dodged the rock but lost his footing and fell for at least 100 meters down broken ledges, finally coming to rest in an ice filled gully. A marginal emergency call was made by cell phone to the park dispatch and rescue team was notified. One member of the party rappelled down the face and located the fallen climber, seriously injured but alive. Parks Canada rescue teams evacuated P.K. and the rest of the party by helicopter in failing light.
P.K. suffered a serious head injury, a variety of non-serious fractures and massive bruising. At the date of publication, he has made a largely successful recovery from these injuries.
When climbing and scrambling in easy alpine terrain, loose rock is always a major consideration. This party’s ability to communicate with emergency responders undoubtedly saved the life of P.K., who likely would not have survived the night out on the mountain. (Source: Parks Canada Warden Service, Jim Mamalis, John Booth)