Stawamus Chief fall victim identified 

Gabriole VanKeith, 57, was from Vancouver

click to enlarge news_seatosky1.jpg

The BC Coroners Service has named Gabriole VanKeith, 57, of Vancouver as the woman who fell to her death on the Grand Wall of the Stawamus Chief on Aug.4.

The investigation suggests VanKeith was hiking alone on the Black Dyke trail when she fell on Sunday in what appears to be a tragic accident.

Hikers who witnessed the fall on the steep front face of the climbing area, dialed 911 to request help.

Squamish Search and Rescue located VanKeith's body within 30 minutes of the accident, according the a press release from the coroners service. She was identified through information found in her vehicle. The coroners service is continuing with its investigation.

It is not clear how many metres she fell, as police are unable to determine where the fall started. A t-shirt she was wearing was found many metres away from her backpack, which was located a full day after her fall.

According to Squamish RCMP, the victim didn't have any climbing equipment.

Her body was recovered in rugged terrain near the base of the mountain and was removed with the help of a helicopter.

In an earlier interview, Sgt. Wayne Pride said the woman suffered significant injuries in the fall. If she was carrying identification or a mobile phone it didn't stay with her. He added that search and rescue volunteers located the woman's body. She was wearing khaki shorts and a blue sports bra, but Pride couldn't indicate what she was wearing on her feet as he said her footwear appeared to have come off in the fall.

"She may have been in a rough area, not prepared and fell," said Pride.

Early reports indicated she may have been in her 20s, but that has been revised, said Pride, suggesting she was more mature than originally thought.

The last recorded death in a climbing area of the Chief was May 31, 2003 when David Christopher Gunstone, 41, of Seattle, fell 25 metres. His death was ruled an accident by the BC Coroners Service. Coroner Jody Doll concluded Gunstone's climbing team failed to tie two of his ropes together.

- With files by Cathryn Atkinson



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Latest in Sea to Sky

More by John French

© 1994-2019 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation