American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Avalanche, Poor Position, Weather, Peter Lougheed Park, Mount Murray, R&D

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

AVALANCHE, POOR POSITION, WEATHER

Alberta, Peter Lougheed Park, Mount Murray, R & D

On November 11, a party of ice climbers on the route R & D on Mount Murray in the Ranger Creek area, was hit by a size 1 to 1.5 avalanche before beginning the climb. One of the party had fallen after the avalanche had come to rest, breaking a bone in his left lower leg. A second size 1 to 1.5 avalanche struck the group as they moved towards safer ground.

Analysis

The local guidebook indicates that Ranger Creek is home to some of the earliest-formed ice. The area should, however, be avoided after heavy snow due to the surrounding avalanche terrain. On November 11, snow continued to fall heavily at the rate of one to two centimeters per hour during the course of the rescue and the roads were in poor condition. A ground evacuation was required. The terrain above the area was reloading, placing the party and all rescuers at risk during the 1.5 hour rescue. Given the conditions, perhaps the party should have avoided this area.

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