The 2016/17 winter season in the Rockies is off to a slow start. Much like ice climbing conditions in B.C., Ontario and Quebec, the mild temperatures have kept many of the popular ice routes from forming. Some classic hard routes have been climbed in the Rockies, including at least two ascents of Rocket Man, a solo of Sorcerer, a recent climb of Nemesis, two big new routes at Caldron Lake and sends of mixed routes up Storm Creek.
With all of the climbing that happens every winter in the Rockies, there is a high chance of things going wrong. Nolan Forrester and Scott Wilson started up Kidd Falls WI4 in Kananaskis Country before backing off. After moving their gear under a large wall to pack up for the day, an avalanche came down from above. The falling debris just missed the climbers. If they had still been on the climb, chances are high they would have been injured. Both climbers are experienced and were equipped with avalanche rescue gear. Watch a short clip of the avalanche below (some profanity).
On Nov. 29, Tyler Davidson took a lead fall while climbing the 100-metre Kemosabe WI4 in Waiparous Creek. He fell 40 metres and pulled two screws out. Kananaskis Country Public Safety (KCPS) technicians used a helicopter to transport Davidson to STARS air ambulance. Davidson was rushed to Foothills Hospital in Calgary with life threatening injuries and is making a slow recovery. Davidson is an experienced all-round climber with a number of difficult climbs behind him. The terrain on the second pitch of Kemosabe is notorious for its chandelier ice. For more on the accident watch a CTV News clip here.
Earlier this fall, a climber was caught in an avalanche at the base of Gimme Shelter on Mount Quadra. The climber went for a 300-metre ride and was OK. For avalanche conditions check here and follow conditions updates on Facebook here. These accidents and close calls are good reminders to take play safe and bring the appropriate equipment.