Kananaskis Country Public Safety Section responded to a call on Sept. 1 to an injured climber on Yamnuska. The leader took a 15-metre fall and hit a ledge and sustained injuries to their head and lower body. The climbers were on Diretissema, which is a sandbagged 5.8 up the centre of the wall. While there are bolted anchors, the pitches often have five to 10-metre sections of run-out climbing. Some mountains in Canada have mountain grades, which are different than gym grades. A 5.8 on an alpine face can have serious consequences if a climber falls, as the protection is often run-out and difficult to find. The quality of the rock can sometimes be suspect and even break.
In 2011, 27-year-old Akihira Tawara, who was a strong 5.13 climber, fell and died soloing Diretissema. Chances are that a hold broke. A number of other climbers have been rescued from Diretissema over the years. If you’re new to big climbs in the Rockies, it is sometimes best to start on well-protected routes and work up. Read how you can reduce risk on Rockies limestone in an article by Andy Genereux here.