Yoho National Park Avalanche Spares Ice Climbers

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FIELD, B.C. - Two B.C. ice climbers dodged death, along with torrents of snow and ice, while climbing a frozen waterfall in Yoho National Park in southeastern British Columbia.

A safety specialist at Banff National Park says the men, both in their 20s, were on a vertical portion of the waterfall, known as the Pilsner Pillar, near Field, B.C., on Sunday.

Brian Webster says the lead climber looked up to see the avalanche break free above him.

As the lower climber ducked into a cave for protection, Webster says the man on the waterfall barely had time to set his ice axes and get a good grip before the debris cascaded over him.

Fortunately, the avalanche did not sweep the climber away and Webster says he was able to make an anchor and descend from his perch when the danger had passed.

The Canadian Avalanche Centre lists avalanche risk as high in Yoho and Banff national parks and all across the lower half of B.C., from the South Coast to the North Columbia region, in the wake of a fierce winter storm that dumped at least 20 centimetres of snow on southern B.C. mountains. (CHNL)

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