British Columbia, July 29, 2016—At approximately 3:00 p.m. PT on Sunday, July 24, Laurel Fan (34) a loved member of the Alpine Mentors–AAC Pacific Northwest Program fell while ascending Serra 2 in the Waddington Range of British Columbia.
The lead mentor, a highly experienced alpine climber and a close member of the American Alpine Club community, was accompanying two mentees on their final graduation climb of the two-year Alpine Mentors–AAC Pacific Northwest Program. The three were scrambling third class terrain when one climber fell and could not be saved.
Local rescue teams, military, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and Global Rescue were notified. As of July 28, RCMP has suspended recovery efforts.
“AAC members mentor other climbers all the time and this program is one of the best examples. We are proud of what Alpine Mentors has been able to do over the years and are extremely distraught over this tragedy,” said AAC CEO Phil Powers. “We still have much to learn about what happened, but the program leaders are some of the most accomplished alpinists America has ever produced.”
“The Alpine Mentors community is very small, and we are greatly saddened by this terrible tragedy,” said Alpine Mentors Founder Steve House, “and our hearts are with Laurel’s friends and family. We are grateful that the two surviving party members were able to draw upon their experience and competence to execute what was a difficult descent after losing one member of their team and a good part of the equipment that climber was carrying.”
The American Alpine Club and Alpine Mentors work with mentees to select progressive climbing itineraries appropriate to their skills, abilities, and experience. While risk can never be eliminated, the health, safety, and well being of members and participants is always a primary concern in evaluating objectives.
This is a tragic and deeply felt loss to our tight knit community. Thank you for your understanding and support as we work on ensuring the well-being of the member’s family and climbing partners.
About Alpine Mentors
Alpine Mentors is a federal recognized tax-deductible 501(c)3 non-profit cooperation and was founded in 2012 in order to promote alpinism by encouraging, coaching and climbing with technically proficient alpinists who aspire to climb the world's greatest mountains in a lightweight, low-impact style. Participants endeavor to communicate their experience with humility and integrity, act to redress the environmental impacts of climbing, respectfully give back to the communities that host them, and foster an inclusive, supportive environment within local and international climbing communities at all levels.
About The American Alpine Club
The American Alpine Club is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose vision is a united community of competent climbers and healthy climbing landscapes. Together with our members, the AAC advocates for American climbers domestically and around the world; provides grants and volunteer opportunities to protect and conserve the places we climb; hosts local and national climbing festivals and events; publishes two of the world's most sought-after climbing annuals, the American Alpine Journal and Accidents in North American Mountaineering; cares for the world's leading climbing library and country's leading mountaineering museum; manages the Hueco Rock Ranch, New River Gorge Campground, and Grand Teton Climbers' Ranch as part of a larger lodging network for climbers; and annually gives $80,000+ toward climbing, conservation, and research grants that fund adventurers who travel the world. Learn about additional programs and become a member at americanalpineclub.org.
American Alpine Club
Phil Powers, CEO
Steve House, Founder of Alpine Mentors