The family of a man killed in a climbing accident on Mount Victoria says he was an experienced mountaineer and will be deeply missed by the climbing community.

Peter Aitchison, 71, of Winnipeg, was ascending the south summit with a group from Manitoba on Wednesday morning when he slipped and fell to his death.

A team from Parks Canada and Alpine Helicopter retrieved his body later that same day.

His son, Jeff Aitchison, says his dad was a very experienced outdoorsman and has been a highly respected member of the Manitoba climbing community for over 50 years.

Jeff says his dad was on an annual trip and was assisting to lead a group of novice climbers up the mountain when he slipped on some loose rock and fell.

“They were on the approach to Mount Victoria so they were hiking at that point really but there was some exposure there and I guess there was a fluke accident, what really amounted to be a light scramble but he slipped on some loose rocks it seems like, or loose gravel on a slab of rock and fell backwards and fell down the slope a ways and hit his head,” said Jeff.

The group was about 90 minutes into their climb when disaster struck and the trail they were on was not considered to be particularly hazardous.

“Part of the shock is he was very, very competent, very safety oriented. Obviously it was unsafe enough that an accident occurred but it wasn’t a particularly unsafe section of the trail and ya he was a super competent climber, very, very experienced from that perspective. On the other hand it’s a fluke accident where it could happen to the best of us,” said Jeff.

Jeff says his dad was wearing a helmet at the time but it cracked open when Peter fell and he died instantly.

Peter Aitchison resurrected the Alpine Club of Canada’s Manitoba section and became its president in the 1980s.

He was also very active in mentoring and teaching people about climbing, canoeing, backcountry skiing and other outdoor pursuits.

“He loved to share his experience and knowledge with other people and he mentored and trained probably hundreds of climbers in Manitoba. He was just a generous, kind and open hearted guy,” said Jeff.

Aitchison was a climbing pioneer in many ways and logged hundreds of first ascents of rock climbing routes in Northern Ontario.

His family says he has climbed and adventured all over the world and will be greatly missed.

A memorial is being planned in Winnipeg in the coming days.