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Body of U.S. climber who perished 21 years ago found on glacier in Canadian Rockies

September 2 2010 at 1:11 PM
Ken Akerman  (Login KenAkerman)

Response to August 2010 Accidents/Rescues


EDMONTON - After 21 years buried under ice and snow at the foot of the Snow Dome, the body of American William Holland was found this month perfectly preserved in his full climbing gear, spiked boots on his feet and rope slung over his shoulder.

On April 3, 1989, Holland was climbing a frozen waterfall on the mountain's northern face -- a treacherous kilometre of ice known as slipstream.

The route is threatened by avalanches of snow and ice, and climbers must cross dangerous glacial terrain pockmarked by deep crevices just to reach its base.

An account from Parks Canada said two parties set up the mountain early that day. Local pair Rick Costea and Ken Wallator headed up first, with Holland and his partner Chris Dube, who had come up from the United States on a climbing expedition, following shortly after. The climb up was uneventful, with both teams safely reaching the summit by the mid-afternoon.

But visibility at the top was poor, and thick clouds and howling winds made for whiteout conditions. Holland walked out onto a hardened lip of snow hanging over the cliff's edge to search for a safe route down, prodding the ground with a ski pole and his coil of rope at the ready for quick deployment. As he neared the edge, the ground gave way and Holland disappeared over the side.

Click here to read the full article from the Edmonton Journal.

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