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Calgarians killed in climbing accident
Published Monday, July 30, 2012 6:17PM MDT
Last Updated Monday, July 30, 2012 6:47PM MDT
Investigators are still trying to figure out how two climbers fell to their deaths near Canmore on the weekend.
A man and woman plunged more than 100 metres down the side of a mountain at the popular Heart Creek climbing area on Sunday.
Crews from Exshaw, Kananaskis and Canmore were called to the area after someone called 911.
The climbers were located in a dry creek bed and were pronounced dead at the scene.
The man has been identified as 31-year-old Ranjit Sidhu from Calgary. The woman was in her 20s but her name is not being released at this time.
“It’s a tragic accident. They were avid climbers. We’ll never know really what went wrong, if it was equipment failure or human failure, at this point, it’s a tragic accident,” said Canmore RCMP Staff Sergeant, Brad Freer.
The pair was found roughly ten meters apart on the ground and rescue workers say both victims appeared to be fully equipped with safety gear.
Search and Rescue recovered a backpack from the scene and say the climbers were simul-rapelling.
Simul-rapelling is where two people share the same rope, looped through a bolt in the side of the mounts, and come down at the same time, one at each end.
For some reason one of the climbers lost control of their rope and with no counterweight at the other end, both fell to the creek bed below.
Police are still trying to piece together exactly what happened and say the families are devastated.
“They're vividly upset and they want some questions answered and at this point we can't answer them. We didn't have an eyewitness on the side of the mountain. We had an eyewitness to the tragic fall but we don’t know what went wrong with the equipment, if anything did,” said S/SGT Freer.
The fatal fall is sending a chill through the climbing community.
“It’s something you put out of your mind most of the time but its always there,” said Justin Carroll. “You are always in charge of your own risk mitigation but you can't worry about it too much.”
Search and Rescue officials say rappelling is one of the most dangerous parts of climbing.
Investigators say that because the victims were experienced in the outdoors and wearing safety gear, there is not much to learn from the tragedy and say it was just a tragic accident.