Jim Haberl Killed in Alaska
British Columbia Based Guide Swept Over Cliff
Thursday, May 6, 1999

Well known climber and author James Haberl, of Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, was killed Friday, April 29, when a slab avalanche pushed him over a cliff in the University Range of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park in Alaska. Haberl fell more than 1000 feet, the National Park Service reported.

"This is very sad news," MountainZone.com editor, Peter Potterfield, who authored Selected Climbs in the Cascades, said. "Jim Haberl was a well loved and respected guide, one of British Columbia's best-known climbers."

Haberl and his climbing partners, Keith Reid and Grame Alan Taylor, also of British Columbia, Canada, were hiking a 20 to 30 degree slope on an unnamed peak in the Range and were not roped when the accident occurred, the park service reported. Haberl was swept away when the slow-moving slab, 100 feet wide and three feet deep, released just below him. Reid and Taylor were reportedly able to avoid the slab by clinging to a ridge.

Reid and Taylor were reported to have downclimbed for nearly two hours before finding a hat and gloves. After probing, the two located Haberl under three feet of snow, nearly 1300 feet from the slab's release. Using ELT signaling, the park service reported, Reid and Taylor contacted the Rescue Coordination Center.

Haberl is the author of two books, K2: Dreams and Reality and Risking Adventure.

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