Yesterday while Fabio and Joe were climbing Tonka (a multi-pitch route on Tunnel Mountain), I was in Banff working on a couple of articles and putting together material for Ghost Walks. At one point as I was at the car dropping off a costume I’d procured from the Thrift Shop, an ambulance tore up the road with lights and sirens going. Not long after, a Parks Canada vehicle also raced up the road. Both vehicles turned up Tunnel Mountain Road. I’d driven down that road a bit earlier after having dropped off Fabio and Joe.
Of course, my mind jumped to the worst case scenario. Rock fall? A miscommunication? Had something gone wrong? Were they ok? I texted to see how they were doing and … no response. That was a long 15 minutes before I finally had a reply saying they were fine and had just reached the top of a pitch where they could do things like answer texts. But, from their perch high above the Bow Valley, they were watching a helicopter and emergency vehicles in action. Something was going on but they weren’t close enough to know exactly what.
We heard today that another climber a little farther along on Tunnel Mountain had been in an accident. Sadly, the climber didn’t survive.
My heart goes out to the family and friends of the accident victim. It’s always a sickening shock to the system when one hears of someone being badly hurt or killed in a climbing accident.
This evening as I turn in for the night I see the stark black silhouette of the mountain peaks outside my window. They are beautiful, to be sure, but unforgiving. Stay safe out there, my friends.