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Late Start, Failure to Follow Route, Darkness, Stranded, Alberta, Kananaskis Country, Mount Indefatigable

LATE START, FAILURE TO FOLLOW ROUTE, DARKNESS, STRANDED

Alberta, Kananaskis Country, Mount Indefatigable

On September 14, two women (28 and 36), from Canmore spent the night on a cliff ledge after darkness forced them to interrupt their climb of the Joy route on Mount Indefatigable. They left Canmore at about 9:00 a.m. and did not start their ascent of this lengthy route until late in the morning, at approximately 11:30 a.m. They finished it near dusk. The exit route they took was incorrect and put them on a series of cliffs. They reached a suitable bivvy ledge in the dark and elected to wait until first light to resume their exit. At first light, searchers found the climbers on this ledge and determined that they could not move up or down from their position. A helicopter dropped two conservation officers onto a cliff band above them. The women ascended to the conservation officers via a rope that was lowered to them and the group was then lifted to safety by the helicopter at about 11:30 a.m. September 15. Neither woman was hurt but both were cold and dehydrated. (Source: Cathy Ellis, Burke Duncan)

Analysis

The climbers later reported in the local news that they felt that they would have been able to complete their climb, but as the rescue team was already on hand, they elected to be helicoptered off the route. It should be noted that this was a high-risk evacuation for the pilot and rescuers due to very strong winds at all elevations.