American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Slip on Snow, Exceeding Abilities, Inadequate Clothing and Equipment, No Hard Hat, Climbing Alone, British Columbia, Mount Robson Provincial Park, Base of Mount Robson

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

SLIP ON SNOW, EXCEEDING ABILITIES, INADEQUATE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT, NO HARD HAT, CLIMBING ALONE

British Columbia, Mount Robson Provincial Park, Base of Mount Robson

On May 23, M.S. and D.B. were camping at the Kinney Lake Campground. M.S. told D.B. he was going to “do some scrambling on the cliffs and gullies overlooking the campground” and would be back before dark. He never returned that evening. D.B. located the local rangers and reported him overdue. At first light, the rangers conducted a hasty search and found boot tracks about 800 meters above Kinney Lake in a snow gully. An RCMP helicopter subsequently located M.S. below a cliff in a gully. The Jasper Warden Service was dispatched and heli-slung the deceased climber out.

Analysis

M.S. was inexperienced in this terrain, had inappropriate footwear, lacked appropriate equipment (i.e. no ice ax for self arresting and no helmet), and was by himself. He likely slipped while on the snow slopes above the cliffs and subsequently slid and fell off a 30-plus-meter cliff. He likely did not survive this initial fall. He probably did not recognize the hazard of his position on the slope or consequences of a slip. (Source: Garth Lemke, Public Safety Warden Jasper National Park of Canada)

(Editor’s Note: This individual was obviously not a climber. We include a few reports like this in hopes that neophytes will take heed.)

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