American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall into Crevasse, Unroped, British Columbia, Glacier National Park, Deville Glacier

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

FALL INTO CREVASSE, UNROPED

British Columbia, Glacier National Park, Deville Glacier

On May 6, B.E. (48) fell 60 feet to his death in a crevasse in the Selkirk Mountains while ski touring on the Deville Glacier in Glacier National Park. B.E. and four male friends from Canmore were traversing from Battle Abbey to Rogers Pass when the accident happened. The five skiers were doing a variation of the classic Bugaboos to Rogers Pass ski traverse, described in Chic Scott’s book Summits and Icefields as one of the most magnificent in western Canada. It was a route the experienced B.E. had done twice before. The five had left Canmore on May 1, and were two days short of completing their week-long expedition when the accident occurred. B.E., who was in the lead, noticed the crevasse and when he went to check it for the safety of the group, he fell. A fellow climber rappelled down the crevasse to aid B.E., but he could not find a pulse. Two members of the party hiked down the mountain and contacted wardens by May 7, while two others stayed at the site. The two who stayed on the mountain were airlifted by helicopter, but recovery efforts for B.E. were stalled by weather until May 12.

Analysis

It is clear that the group had a rope, as one of the party rappelled down to the victim after the accident. What is not clear is why B.E. would choose to approach the crevasse to “check” on it without being roped up. (Source: Dave Stephens, Pam Doyle, Canmore Leader)

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