Monday, April 24, 2006

Charlie Borgh

In Mount Rainier related news, we sadly report about an accident that involved one of our climbing rangers. Last Thursday, lead climbing ranger Charlie Borgh was swept to his death in an avalanche near Banff. Charlie, and his climbing partner Gabe Coler, had just completed an ascent of Super Couloir on Mount Deltaform. Super Couloir is a Grade IV, 5.8 rock and ice route up the north face of the peak.

Charlie and Gabe began the ascent on Thursday and were reported overdue to Park Wardens on Sunday morning. Wardens began an aerial search and soon picked up tracks and other clues. They followed those clues, which led to a ledge on the SE face near 10,500 feet. From that ledge, the wardens noted evidence of a slab avalanche (a fracture line can be seen in the image). They followed the path of that avalanche and found the two near 7,500 on top of the snow. Charlie did not survive the fall but miraculously Gabe did. He is now recovering with a broken femur and a variety of other injuries. It should be noted that Gabe spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night exposed with little gear before being rescued.

Charlie was an important part of our team at Mount Rainier and we will miss him immensely. Our thoughts are with Charlie's fiancé and family.

We are also thinking about Gabe, and wish him a full and swift recovery.

Photos courtesy of Parks Canada, Brad White.