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Stranded — Underestimated Route Difficulty, Poor Route Research, Alberta, Canadian Rockies, Mount Rundle

STRANDED – UNDERESTIMATED ROUTE DIFFICULTY, POOR ROUTE RESEARCH

Alberta, Canadian Rockies, Mount Rundle

On September 15, three climbers set out to traverse Mount Rundle in Banff National Park from south to north. They had relatively heavy overnight packs and were prepared for a multi-day outing. After spending two days traversing, they got to a very technical section on the ridge and they climbed up but could not find a way down. At this point they realized that they had underestimated the difficulty of the route and felt that they could not continue or retreat so they phoned for help. Parks Mountain Safety specialists and an Alpine Helicopters rescue pilot responded and the trio were heli-slung off the mountain.

Analysis

Groups should be prepared for self-rescue, which should also include the ability to retreat from a route. Cellphones have made the decision to call for help once over-committed that much easier. (Source: Brad White, Banff National Park Mountain Safety Specialist)