Carlyle Norman
Credit: Joshua Lavigne
One of Canada’s best female alpinists was killed while climbing in Patagonia in January.

Calgary’s Carlyle Norman died during an attempt on a route on Aguja Saint-Exupéry, a 2,558-metre peak in the Fitzroy Massif. The 29-year-old was belaying her expedition partner, Cian Brinker, on a 13-pitch, 5.11 climb called Last Gringo Standing on January 15 when she was hit by rockfall.

After Norman was hit, Brinker descended and found his partner unconscious. Brinker secured Norman to a ledge and stayed with her for two hours before deciding to go for help. Two separate rescue attempts—by a Red Bull helicopter filming in the area and a team of international climbers—were forced down due to bad weather. When the skies cleared on January 20, a helicopter went out again, but Norman was no longer on the ledge. Rescuers speculate she regained consciousness but, impaired from the accident and hypothermia, unclipped from the anchor and fell from the ledge. Her body was found in a crevasse at the base of the route on January 21, but was not recovered.

Norman’s last climb was preparation for an attempt on a new route on the nearby Southwest Face of Bifida, an imposing and rarely climbed granite tower. That objective won Norman and Brinker the 2011 John Lauchlan Memorial Award, an annual grant funded in part by explore.