American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Stranded, Exceeding Abilities, Failure to Follow Route, Alberta, Banff National Park, Mount Temple, Aemmer Couloir

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  • Publication Year: 2005

STRANDED, EXCEEDING ABILITIES, FAILURE TO FOLLOW ROUTE Alberta, Banff National Park, Mount Temple, Aemmer Couloir

On July 31, a group of four climbers set off to climb the Aemmer Couloir variation of the East Ridge of Mount Temple in Banff National Park near Lake Louise. The group biwied below the couloir and took the whole second day to climb to the top of the couloir. After another night’s bivy, two of the climbers decided they could not continue and the second two went to finish the climb. They would request assistance for their stranded friends. It took them 16 hours to reach the summit ridge after going off route through the Black Towers. Another party who started early that day met up with the two climbers stranded at the bivouac at 1000. They said that they would report the incident to the park wardens. They exited the correct Black Towers exit gully and in so doing bypassed the other two who were off route. The second party reported the incident to the Park Warden Service around 1800. The rescue crew was able to do a partial landing at the bivouac site and evacuate the two climbers. The other two members of the party were then located just exiting the Black Towers on the Summit Ridge. They were exhausted and were evacuated by heli-sling.


The East Ridge of Mount Temple is often underestimated. The grade/rat- ing of IV 5.7 is deceptive. The difficulties lie in route finding and mixed alpine terrain for over 5,000 feet of climbing. (Source: Percy Woods, Banff National Park Warden Service)

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