The accident reports in this database are intended solely for educational and accident prevention purposes
and not for purposes of asserting or establishing fault or legal liability. Any analysis or opinion provided
is that of the Webmaster or credited source and is not necessarily endorsed or approved by the Alpine Club of Canada.
Efforts are made to ensure that reports are accurate, but some inaccuracies may still exist. We welcome corrections,
additions, updates or photos. Please contactá the Webmaster.|
Date: 11 Jul 1955
Location: Temple, Mount (3543 m) - Lake Louise
Park or Region: Banff National Park
Topo Map: 82 N/8 Lake Louise
Route: Southwest Ridge (Normal route, II)
Persons Killed: 7
Persons Injured: 0
Type of Injuries: fatality
Southwest Ridge, Mt. Temple
Photo by: E. Podemski
Description: A group of 11 unsupervised youths from the Wilderness Camp of Philadelphia were climbing the tourist route on the Southwest Ridge of Mt. Temple (3,543 m.). They were clad only in light clothing and there was only one ice axe in the group. Some of them wore baseball cleats for better friction. They were tied together at 1.5 metre intervals on a manilla rope. The temperature was 24.5║C and the route was snow covered. At 1600 they reached 2,750 metres, and gathered together to assess the situation as several small avalanches had fallen near them. The most experienced member of the party, T.W., urged them to turn back and they began to descend. A few minutes later a large avalanche hurtled toward the group. T.W. dug his axe in and the rope went taut and then broke. Ten boys, ages 12 to 16 were swept 200 metres down the snowfield and through a bottleneck, smashing into rocks along the way. Before the day was over, seven of them would be dead in one of the worst avalanche accident in Parks Canada history.
Analysis: One of the two group leaders was spending the day in Lake Louise, shopping. The other was waiting in Larch Valley with six other boys while the 11 boys climbed. Trip leaders attempted to blame Parks Canada for failing to provide sufficient information when it was sought. The group was inexperienced and ill equipped and were climbing in warm weather on an avalanche prone slope.
Rescue Mode: Wardens
Source: Mountain Heritage Magazine Vol.3 No. 4