American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
Black Diamond Logo

Fall on Ice—Ice Tools Pulled Out, Unropped, Quebec, Mont du Gros Bras

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


On February 22, J.S. (39) and M.L.(38) had finished the Gros Bras route at Weir and were packing up their gear when they decided to have a look at the rock climbs further along the cliff. On the way back J.S. decided to attempt an unroped mixed traverse across the ice shrouded base of the cliff. After one or two moves, he noticed the ice was very poor and was just beginning to step back down onto level ground when the ice supporting his left tool disintegrated and he fell heavily downward about half a metre, firmly planting his right crampon, unfortunately he also fell backwards on his planted foot and snapped his tibia, just above the boot top, and his fibula near the knee. He then proceeded to flip onto his back, fall about one more metre and luckily landed in between two large boulders which stopped him fall-

ing farther. J.S. also sustained severe bruising. M.L. quickly came to J.S.’s aid organizing some of the other climbers. Fortunately two of the other climbers present were very experienced and well qualified in first aid and they improvised a splint from slings and a dead sapling, ensured J.S. was warm and not in shock, and, when stabilized, proceeded to move J.S., via a two-man carry with a relay of three persons, to M.L.’s car.


Even a short fall when wearing crampons can have serious consequences. (Source: John Scoles)

This ANAM article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.