American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Falling Rock, Alberta, Mount Yamnuska, Belfry

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2006

FALLING ROCK

Alberta, Mount Yamnuska, Belfry

On May 23, a climber fell 15 meters and broke both legs while attempting Belfry on Mount Yamnuska. He was with his climbing partner when a ledge broke beneath him and he fell. N.B. called for help and waited in the meadow below for rescuers to arrive. George Field, public safety specialist with Community Development, organized a helicopter sling rescue from the Canmore heliport. Although it was quite windy on the ground, conditions were better at a higher altitude near the accident site. “We were lucky we were in a bay and it was calmer in there,” Field said. “We got as close as we dared to the mountain to get the patient out.” The helicopter flew to an altitude of 6,600 feet, with a 100-foot rescue rope hanging underneath. Conservation officers flew up to the accident site to stabilize the injured climber. Then they put him into a screamer suit and hooked him up. One of the officers flew attached to the harness with the climber. The patient was flown to a staging area in the meadow below Yamnuska where he was put on an awaiting stretcher.

Analysis

Spontaneous rockfall and hold failure is common in this area because of the nature of the rock in combination with the winter melt and freeze conditions. This is evident in the large scree slopes below the cliff. For that reason, it is imperative that climbers be alert for rockfall and holds be tested before fully weighting them. (Source: Pam Doyle, Canmore Leader)

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