• Forty-Foot Fall and Rescue on Eldorado Canyon's Bastille
  • Missed Clip, Fractured Skull
  • Errant Spot and a Shattered Leg in Bishop Highball Accident
  • Climber Killed in Simul-Rappelling Accident on the Goat Wall
  • Climber Dies in Fall From El Cap's East Ledges
  • Fatal Unroped Fall On Easy Terrain - Bear Creek Spire, California
  • Simul-Rappel Goes Tragically Wrong - Reed’s Pinnacle, Yosemite
  • Dropped Haulbag Strikes Climber in Yosemite
  • Rappel Knot Fails, Climber Falls to Death on the Goat Wall
  • Climber Loses Finger Tips in Crack
  • Climber Grabs Draw, Skins Finger
  • Gear Pulls, Climber Decks at Indian Creek
  • Climber Dropped at Instructional Clinic
  • Euro-Death Knot (Flat Figure-8) Mysteriously Fails
  • Mark Davis Dies in Tragic Rappelling Accident at Indian Creek
  • Climber Dies In Fall From Moonlight Buttress, Zion
  • Ice Climber Falls 100 Feet in Banff National Park
  • Ice Climber Falls 100 Feet on Screw and Climaxe
  • Diablo Canyon Climber Dies in 170-foot Fall
  • Climber Breaks Ankle and Back After Fall in the Palisades, California
  • Rockfall Knocks Out Belayer, She Never Lets Go
  • North Carolina Climber Dies in 50-foot Fall
  • Lightning Strikes Twice - Rockfall on the Cassin, Cima Piccolissima
  • Climber Dropped When Lowered in Autoblock Mode
  • Climber Dies in a Fall at Dishman Hills, Washington
  • Climber Falls 200 Feet on the Nose
  • Danger Zones: The Nose - Accidents On El Cap's Most Popular Route
  • Rappelling Accident Leaves Climber Shattered
  • Gunks Climber Raps Off End of Rope
  • Inattentive Spot Leads to Broken Arm
  • Man Survives Fifty-Foot Ground Fall
  • Bolt Breaks, Climber Falls to Death
  • Climber Falls to Death, Apparent Bolt Failure
  • Tragedy on Infinite Bliss - Rappelling Claims Climber
  • Gear Rips, Leading Climber Critical
  • Impaled by a Quickdraw
  • Two Carabiners Break on Leaning Tower
  • Climber Fined For Obstructing Rescue
  • Climber Triggers Rockfall, Kills Two on El Cap
  • Gear Pulls: Grounder at White Rock, New Mexico
  • Death on Capitol Peak
  • Respected Climber Falls 50 Feet and Dies at Cathedral Ledge
  • NPS Chops Bolts: Man Dies Descending Forbidden Peak
  • Not Again: Eldo Climber Raps Off End Of Rope
  • Flake Breaks, Leader Falls, Hits Belayer
  • BUNGLED!: Autoblock Belay Device Misused
  • Fatal Gym Accident
  • Solo Ice Climber Dies in Fall
  • Three Killed in Cairngorms
  • Ice Climber Killed
  • Despite Warnings, Three Injured in Mount Washington Avalanche
  • Four Dead in Scottish Highlands
  • Bolt Pulls Out in the New River Gorge
  • Belayer Drops Climber 70 Feet to Ground
  • Rope Cuts, Climber Dies in Eldorado
  • Belayer Pulls Leader Off Ice Climb
  • Fifty-Footer Rips Three Screws
  • Rope Chopped by Carabiner
  • Climber Falls 140 Feet and Lives
  • Todd Skinner Killed on Leaning Tower Rappel
  • Climbing's Insidious Danger: Rockfall
  • Top Rope Slips Off
  • Rappel Knot Fails, Climber Falls 300 Feet to Death
  • Ice Cave Collapses, Kills Hari Berger
  • Climber Unclips From Anchor, Falls to Death
  • Counterweight Rappel Failure
  • Back Cleaning Results in 150-foot Fall
  • Climber Dies When Rappels Off End of Rope
  • Mouse Attacks
  • Hold Breaks, 60-foot Fall
  • Avalanche Kills Six In Alps
  • Autoblock Belay Failure Causes Fall
  • Lathrop Strang Killed in Mount Sopris Ski Accident
  • Rappel Swing Goes Awry, Climber Injured and Rescued
  • Ice Climber Falls Entire Pitch, Dies
  • Climber Comes Unclipped, Falls 140 Feet at Red Rocks
  • Ice climber rides Vail's famous Fang 100 feet when the pillar collapses
  • Two Bolt Hangers Break, Climber Falls
  • Nose-hooked Carabiner Breaks, Causing Ground Fall
  • Bowline Comes Untied, Climber Falls to Ground
  • Rope Burns Through Lowering Sling, Climber Falls to Ground
  • Gear Rips, Leader Hits Ledge
  • 600-foot Ice Climbing Fall
  • Ice Climber Unropes, Slips, Falls 60 Feet
  • Ice Climber Dislodges Ice, Belayer Hit and Seriously Injured
  • Belayer Drops Leader Due to Miscommunication
  • Leader Rips 10 Pieces on El Cap, Falls 80 Feet
  • Leader Falls, Gear Rips, Belay Fails
  • Video Spotlight
    Of Choss and Lions: Honnold, Wright and Birdwell in Kenya
    Of Choss and Lions: Honnold, Wright and Birdwell in Kenya
    Whipper of the Month
    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer
    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer
     



    Ice Climber Falls 100 Feet in Banff National Park

    By

    Scene of the accident: <em>Professor Falls</em> (WI 4) on Mount Rundle in Banff National Park, above the towns of Canmore and Banff, Alberta, Canada (entire route not in photo). Photo courtesy of Nick Yardley. On February 21, three climbers were nearing the top of Professor Falls (WI 4 920 feet) on the north side of Mount Rundle, Alberta, Canada. A 54-year-old man from nearby Canmore, whose name has not been released, was on lead.

    “He had climbed through an easy section without putting any protection in . . . and then he fell off,” Grant Statham, a visitor safety specialist with Parks Canada, told the Calgary Herald. “He hit a ledge and continued to slide, so it wasn’t a clean fall—he bounced off a lot of stuff and slid through rocks.”

    The man careened nearly 100 feet down Professor Falls before his belayer caught the fall. The belayer lowered him to a small ledge and another climbing party assisted them as they waited for helicopter rescue.

    The climber sustained severe injuries in the fall, including a broken ankle, pelvis and back, and laceration to his arm, the Calgary Herald reports. He was stabilized and pulled off the ice ledge by the Parks Canada visitor safety team and flown to an ambulance. He was admitted to the hospital in critical condition, but has since stabilized.

    Analysis

    Professor Falls, an area classic for the grade, consists of multiple sections of steep ice broken by ledges and short snow slopes. The man who fell, a Canmore local, was probably climbing below his limit and on familiar terrain.

    Nick Yardley, an ice climber from Vermont who had climbed the route with his daughter Emma only days before, told Rock and Ice that he believes that the Canmore man fell on the fourth pitch of the climb, based on a photo published in the Calgary Herald.

    “He must have kept sliding over the next steep pitch,” Yardley says. “[There was] no snow on the ledges so it’s easy to see how a person could keep sliding.”

    Yardley mentioned that the climb was fat and in great condition, however, it had also been unseasonably warm.

    “The pitch he fell on was very wet,” Yardley says. “On the right, running surface water and fresh slushy surface ice [made it] hard to place gear or to get bomber secure placements.” The left side was drier but mushroomed, he explained, “so … perhaps not straight forward.”

    When the man fell, he hadn’t placed protection for a long distance, likely because the ice wouldn’t provide solid screw placements, or because the man was comfortable on the terrain. He was runout, and without snow on the ledges, there was little to slow his fall.

    Prevention

    Ice protection can be bomber, but it is only as strong as the ice that it’s placed in (if it’s placed at all). Oftentimes, when the ice is bad—brittle, hollow, aerated, slushy, etc.—ice climbers don’t bother to waste energy placing screws that will most likely not hold a fall. Instead, they find it safer to continue climbing to better ice and more reliable protection.

    But running it out is also dangerous, especially on melting ice where it’s difficult to get secure pick placements.

    "Think of yourself not as a stuntman but a craftsman," Andy Kirkpatrick, a veteran alpine climber, advised in a Rock and Ice What I Learned article (issue 232, February 2016). "Place lots of gear and make all routes safe. Don't do big ego-massaging runouts on easy ground, but also never assume there's no pro just because someone else can't find it."

    On crummy ice, take the time to chop through the surface to better ice below for screw placements. The man's fall almost certainly would have been shortened had he cleared away the slushy surface ice to place solid pro.

    Still, even good ice pro is not enough to make an ice climb safe if it's been consistently warm.

    Large temperature fluctuations, and sunshine, not only wreak havoc on surface ice—making ice climbs more difficult to climb and to protect—but also can cause entire formations to become structurally unstable and at risk of collapse or detachment.

    The two weeks prior to this accident saw temperatures into the mid-forties Fahrenheit.

    If you’re planning on ice climbing, check the forecast as well as recent weather history. If it’s been too warm, put away the ice tools and crampons and pull out the rock shoes instead. Ice is only ice if it’s frozen.

     


     
    FIND MORE ACCIDENT REPORTS HERE

    Reader's Commentary:

    Don't want to use Facebook, but still want to comment? We have you covered:

    Add Your Comments to this article:
     
     

    About Rock and IceAdvertiseIntern at Rock and IceSubscription ServicesSite MapTerms of UsePrivacy PolicyContact Us
    Copyright © Bigstone Publishing 2017
     
    Hello