Cochrane woman killed in ski mountaineering accident at Yoho National Park

According to Parks Canada, an Alberta woman was killed in a mountaineering accident in Yoho National Park last week.

According to the authorities, the victim was taken to the face of Mont des Poilus around 11 a.m. on April 13 after the collapse of a ledge she was crossing.

Cornices are overhanging masses of snow formed by the wind on ridges. Large, heavy masses of compacted snow are generally the largest and least stable in the spring.

Alberta RCMP said the victim was a 28-year-old woman from Cochrane, but did not release her name.

Parks Canada says she was at the front of her group of five and had left her skis behind to climb the final ridge to the summit of Distant Peak at the western end of the Wapta Icefield when it has occurred.

The collapse was large, between 60 and 80 meters in diameter, triggering a size 3 avalanche on the surrounding slopes. A size 3 avalanche has enough power to destroy a car or small building.

According to Parks Canada, the group was experienced and well prepared for the climb.

Visitor Safety Specialist Steve Holeczi says it can be difficult to determine where rock ends and a ledge begins. He recommends backcountry travelers to stay well clear of suspicious ledges.

The team were able to alert rescuers immediately after the accident, communicating by text message via a satellite device and later by radio as a helicopter approached.

Four guards located the woman’s body above the snow.

Parks Canada said she fell about 300 meters.