Accidents

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Synopsis

This page contains a collection of reports on accidents that have happened on VOC trips or to VOC members. It is intended to serve as an educational resource to help VOCers to avoid similar accidents in the future.

Accidents are currently organized in four categories: Climbing, Mountaineering, Skiing and Other. Within the categories reports are listed chronologically.

Please keep reports succinct and impersonal (you can use participant initials). Include the trip objective, date, location and a link to any discussion thread on the message board. Please try to only post accidents that are important enough to have educational value.

All accident reports on this page are written by individuals, and the VOC accepts no responsibility for their accuracy or for any conclusions made by the authors. This page is intended for educational purposes only.

Example

Here is an example report:

Aug. 26, 2007 Ground fall at Sugarloaf Murrin Park 1 injured

Four VOCers were climbing at Sugarloaf in Murrin Park (Squamish, BC). JM started up a climb (Hot Wire) and placed a single cam. He then continued up to the crux. After some difficulties JM fell and the cam pulled. Since that was the only piece of protection, he landed on the ground, injuring his ankle after falling about 7 metres. Subsequent analysis resulted in the conclusion that another piece could have been placed below the crux and that dirt in the cam prevented proper operation and contributed to it pulling out. Message board link

Accident Reports

Climbing

Aug. 26, 2007 Ground fall at Sugarloaf Murrin Park 1 injured

Four VOCers were climbing at Sugarloaf in Murrin Park (Squamish, BC). JM started up a climb (Hot Wire) and placed a single cam. He then continued up to the crux. After some difficulties JM fell and the cam pulled. Since that was the only piece of protection, he landed on the ground, injuring his ankle after falling about 7 metres. Subsequent analysis resulted in the conclusion that another piece could have been placed below the crux and that dirt in the cam prevented proper operation and contributed to it pulling out. Message board link

Mountaineering

Sept. 2, 2007 Fall in snow covered crevasse (unroped) Wedge Mt. 0 injured

During the annual Mountaineering camp, three VOCers were descending the snow covered Wedgemount Glacier after climbing Wedge Mt. The party didn't rope up because they were of the opinion they could recognize and avoid most crevasses (the heavily crevassed areas were bare). The party was descending during the afternoon, and the snow was getting soft due to warm and sunny weather. LT did not follow the tracks set by other people, and from the transition from snow covered to bare glacier, party fell into a snow-covered crevasse. Luckily LT could easily climb out the crevasse with an ice axe (without help of the other party members). In hindsight, the crevasse was easy to identify (linear snow feature in between bare ice). Analysis: this incident could have been avoided by always roping up on snow-covered glacier, and/or potentially also by a more carefull route choice. Message board link

Skiing

Apr. 15, 2007 Vantage N. face avalanche Vantage Peak 0 injured

Four VOCers climbed Vantage Peak from a camp in Cerise Creek, Duffy Lake Road area. Skinned up to the base of the west ridge and hiked/scrambled to the summit. On descent, BS released a large slab avalanche on the steep, corniced North side of Vantage. BS triggered the slide by putting one step in the N. face from the ridge (on boots). All the snow below BS's feet slid off. The slide stepped up (from ~30cm to ~20cm) after 50m and expanded to both the left and right and produced a ~280m long run out. The slope was about 40° steep, variable from 35-45° in upper part. Elevation: ~ 2225m. The sliding snow involved new snow from the previous days, the sliding layer was a solid 3cm thick melt-freeze crust (likely a result from hot temperatures during previous weekend). Avalanche danger rating was moderate in the alpine. Message board link

Apr. 20, 2006 Edmonds Glacier Avalanche Tchaikazan Valley 0 injured

Four VOC members were doing a ski traverse that went through the upper tchaikazan valley. An avalanche was triggered descending from the Chapman Glacier to the Edmonds Glacier. It was snowing at the time, and there was 30-40cm of new storm snow and the slope was cross loaded. The avalanche was size 2, about 200m wide and 200m long. The debris was up to 1m deep. SN descended the slope first and and traversed out to skier's left. SC started to descend before SN was completely safe. SC triggered a small sluff, which ran downhill and started a dry slab avalanche 5m below. The crown propagated 50m right and 150m left, releasing snow above SN. SN was able to ski off to the side without being caught in the debris. In this case, the party was caught off guard descending a south facing slope. Earlier in the day, the party had similarly steep north facing slopes with more snow loading without incident, and believed this south facing slope should be safer that what they had already passed. However, the south facing slope had a strong sun crust underneath the storm snow which acted as a sliding layer.

Other

External Links

Alpine Club of Canada - Alpine accidents database
Canadian Avalanche Centre - Avalanche accidents information