Tue, September 14, 2004

Mountain accident kills hiker  



Search and rescue crews yesterday found the body of a young woman killed while scrambling down a mountain in Banff National Park. The 23-year-old woman, who moved to Lake Louise just a month ago from Oilsprings, Ont., set out for the Skoki trailhead Sunday morning.

She was reported missing when she didn't return that night and found dead yesterday morning at the bottom of the southwest face of Richardson Peak.

Brad White, a mountain safety specialist with the park, said he believes the woman went off-route in steep and rocky terrain when she couldn't find the easiest descent down from the summit.

"She had a copy of a scrambling guidebook," he said. "But there was a fair bit of fresh snow, maybe the path was obscured."

The woman likely fell about 100 metres or was possibly struck by a rock as she tried to make her way down the mountain.

She suffered multiple traumatic injuries and it's not known if those were instantly fatal.

While she had proper equipment for the outdoor venture -- including good boots and warm clothing -- the woman was believed to be relatively inexperienced and scrambling solo when tragedy struck.

She did not leave clear indications of her travel route with friends or family, and rescue crews said the search would have been made that much more onerous had they not located her bike locked up at Temple Lodge.

"This is a tragic event," White said, adding mounties were in the process of contacting the woman's family last night.

"If you go out, leave (word) of when you will be back, research routes well and we don't recommend you travel alone.

"Even a minor mishap, like a sprained ankle, can be serious if you are by yourself," he said.