FALL ON ROCK, FAILURE TO FOLLOW ROUTE, PROTECTION PULLED OUT
British Columbia, Bugaboo Glacier Provincial Park/Alpine Recreation Area, Snowpatch Spire
On August 2, having climbed through the squeeze chimney, two climbers were ascending the final pitch of the Kraus/McCarthy route on Snowpatch Spire. The lead climber mistakenly assumed the 5.10 crack under the anchor was the 5.8 crack in the Kraus/McCarthy route description. After moving through a layback, he selected to reach for the anchor rather than reverse down the layback. The crack is fist-sized towards the top. Cams of the correct size had been used up lower down on the pitch. The lead climber fell just below the summit ridge. The top-most nut and cam ripped from the crack and the climber hit the ledge below, landing on his back. Shortly thereafter, two other climbers were descending the Kraus/McCarthy and were able to help with the rappels.
The old topo from the first edition of Randall and Greene’s guidebook for the area indicates a bolted anchor above the 5.8 crack. The new edition correctly shows the anchor well to the right of the crack (above the 5.10b crack). The ledge below would have provided a good belay station that could have been used to bring up the second and re-rack gear. Better analysis of the route, as well as possibly splitting the pitch into two pitches to allow gear to be reused, might have changed the results. (Source: Stephane Durocher)