CANMORE – A Calgary woman died after falling at the Grassi Lakes area Saturday (June 29) afternoon in what officials are calling “an extremely unfortunate accident.”
The 20-year-old was bouldering with another friend in the Grassi Lakes climbing area when she fell 25-30 metres from a rock wall that is typically not used for bouldering, Jeremy Mackenzie, a Kananaskis public safety specialist said.
The rope-less rock climbing sport is often two to four metres from the ground with proper equipment such as helmets and crash pads, Mackenzie said.
Despite reports of a rock fall event, Mackenzie said several eyewitnesses were interviewed and the woman’s friend reported it was a fall.
“The woman and her companion were engaged in bouldering but not in a typical bouldering area. They actually sort of walked or climbed up to a ledge system approximately 25 to 30 metres off the ground and it appears they were bouldering on a short rock wall that was above a ledge,” he said.
“Unfortunately when she fell off the smaller rock wall onto the ledge, the ledge wasn’t big enough to stop her momentum and so she actually rolled over that ledge and continued another 20 metres or so to the ground.”
Canmore RCMP, EMS and Fire, along with Kananaskis Public Safety attended the scene.
Alberta Health Services told the Outlook they were called to the Spray Lakes trailhead at approximately 12:30 p.m. with reports a climber had been injured. The woman was pronounced dead on scene, RCMP officials confirmed.
“It appears to be an extremely unfortunate accident,” Canmore RCMP Sgt. Stan Andronyk said.
Kananaskis Public Safety officials said climbers should be aware of the risks of bouldering such as how high you are climbing, be aware of overhead hazards and always have proper equipment.