A 25-year-old was sent to hospital after falling down an icy slope in Maligne Canyon.
On Saturday, February 27, hiking and interpretive guide Alicia Waller was leading a group of ice walkers through Maligne Canyon when she heard her fellow guide, Ted Turnbull, alerting members of his own group to an emergency.
“I came around the corner and saw Ted was helping someone on the ground,” Waller said. “The man was unconscious and had a head injury. He was pretty banged up.”
The man, who was not part of a guided tour, had fallen 20 metres down an icy ramp leading into the canyon. He struck his head and landed face down in a pool of water.
“He was half submerged, he was in shock,” she said.
While Turnbull and Waller attended to the fallen man, getting help from two of their clients who were trained emergency medical technicians, a third Sun Dog Tours guide, Chuck Cantlie, scrambled up the canyon to call local emergency services personnel. When Parks Canada public safety members arrived, the assembled guides and volunteers assisted to put the injured man on a stretcher and lift him out of the canyon.
“We all kind of caterpillared this guy across the log bridge where you normally access the canyon,” Waller said.
The man was taken to awaiting paramedics and driven to hospital by ambulance.
Waller, who has been guiding tours in Maligne Canyon for 10 years, said she sees people exploring the canyon without the proper gear on a daily basis. Parks Canada signage alerts people to the dangers of descending the icy slopes without proper ice cleats on their feet, but people either don’t notice the warnings or choose to ignore them, she said. “Right now the trails are so slick,” Waller said. “People take it for granted, they think there’s all those tourists in there that it must be safe.”