News / Calgary

Calgary hiker escapes nearly falling from 20 metre cliff

Jamie Junker caught a tree branch, dislocating his shoulder

A photo of Jamie Junker moments before falling off Iyache Ipan ridge.

Contributed

A photo of Jamie Junker moments before falling off Iyache Ipan ridge.

Jamie Junker is feeling lucky to be alive, after almost plunging 20 metres from the Iyarhe Ipan ridge in Kananaskis Country.

Junker, an avid alpine racer, was training with fellow racer Joanna Ford on the ridge Saturday morning.

He said he thought he chose the better route — one side of the ridge was covered in waist-deep snow while the other was clear.

But as he took his first few steps, the rocks beneath his feet began to crumble.

“I thought, ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me, like how is this possible?’” he said. “But then you realize it’s not warm, it’s winter and it’s windy.”

As he began to fall, Junker immediately grabbed the nearest tree branch.

But the force of it all caused his shoulder to dislocate, he said.

“Luckily I held on — it was pretty scary.”

Junker then propped himself back on the ridge, with the help of Ford.

But he didn’t want to call Kananaskis Country Public Safety Section right away.

“You always want to be able to get out under your own power,” he said. “No wants to be rescued, especially when they can still walk.”

So, he and Ford searched YouTube for videos that teach people how to relocate a dislocated shoulder. Yes, they had cellphone service.

Junker jammed his dislocated arm against a tree and swung a rock with it, but nothing worked.

“It just wouldn’t pop back in.”

And the pain then became excruciating.

“Once it kicked in, I started seeing stars.”

So Junker gave in and called the rescue team. They flew in with a chopper and things were smooth sailing, he said.

“Once I was in their hands, it was like I was on easy street,” he said. “I was surprised with how quick everything was.”

Junker plans to go back hiking as soon as possible once his shoulder heals, he added.

“It’s a good reminder to be safe. Maybe I’ll be more careful next time when I’m on the terrain, but thank God we had cell phones and were properly dressed — it could’ve been a lot worse.”