American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Ice, Banff National Park, Mount Bourgeau, Bourgeau Right-Hand

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2005

FALL ON ICE

Alberta, Banff National Park, Mount Bourgeau, Bourgeau Right-Hand

On January 4, a party of two was climbing Bourgeau Right-Hand (310 m. IV WI 4R). This climb is often very thin on the first two pitches and difficult to protect. The leader was climbing second pitch and took a lead fall six metres above his third screw (clipped in with a screamer). The screw held but he was unsure if the screamer deployed. The leader fell about 15 metres and injured both ankles. One ankle was severely fractured. The party self evacuated to the Sunshine Ski Village parking lot. In addition to the fractures, the leader suffered frostbite to all toes, but no long term damage is expected.

Analysis

Lead falls with crampons frequently result in lower leg fractures. In this instance the party was concerned that they would be responsible for the cost of a rescue, so did not call for help. Rescue services are included in

Canadian National Parks as a benefit of purchasing a Park Pass and there is no additional charge. With fractures, where there is possible circulation impairment, there is a potential for irreversible limb damage and time may be of essence in obtaining advanced medical care at a treatment hospital. (Source: Bradford White, Banff National Park Warden Service)

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