FALL ON ROCK
Yukon Territory, Kluane National Park Reserve, Mount Logan
A trio of experienced climbers, Stephen Canning (22), and his two partners (36 and 43) registered to climb Mount Logan’s East Ridge on May 7. They expected to be done their expedition on June 4. When the trio started their attempt at the East Ridge’s summit about noon on May 22, the weather was clear. They crested the East Peak just after midnight. Increasingly stormy weather forced them to camp not far from the summit. At midnight on May 23, they started back down. S.C. was about 15 metres away from one of his partners when he stopped to take a photo—about 0630. His climbing partner looked away briefly, only to look back as the younger man fell off the snowy, rocky face. At the time it was windy and a storm was moving
in. Nobody witnessed the actual cause of the fall, but they did witness the fall itself. The fall happened at 5,850 metres, just 100 metres shy of the summit. S.C.’s partners climbed down to him and tried to administer first aid, but S.C. had no vital signs. The surviving pair continued their descent and were forced to camp for two days to wait out inclement weather. Once back at basecamp, the survivors called RCMP on the group’s satellite phone, which had been left in camp. Retrieval efforts were unsuccessful, but the two survivors were flown out several days later.
Weather and the effects of high altitude are usually factors in incidents like this one. Perhaps the victim was also distracted by his photography. (Source, An article by Sarah Brown in The Whitehorse Star, and Jeff Hunston)
(Editor's Note: We learned of a drowning in the Rundle Glacier outwash stream —Owl River, on Baffin Island in Auyuittuq National Park. Del Hildebrand (61) lost his footing and was carried tumbling downstream. He was unable, or just did not, shed his pack. This was not on a mountaineering trip, but worth mentioning because many approaches to big climbs include the need to cross cold, swift streams.
We have also learned that the bodies of the two missing climbers, Daniel Pauze and Susan Barnes, in the Torngat Mountains in northern Labrador last year have been recovered. From notes in the summit register and photos recovered, it appears that the duo successfully climbed to the summit of Mount Caubvick (D ’Iberville) in a “wicked snowstorm. ” Both had inadequate clothing for the conditions. It appears that D.P.’s rappel anchor pulled out and he fell to the base of the Koroc step with the only rope, sustaining leg injuries. His female partner was unable to descend the same route without a rope. Her body was later found on a ledge feature known as the “football field” about a kilometre away from D.P. Both climbers likely perished from exposure.)