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The Harry Winstone Tragedy:
Tragic Fall on Argus Mountain 1959

From the Victoria Daily Times July 14, 1959.

Veteran Climber Killed
Victoria Men In Death Vigil

Courtenay - Inquest into the death Sunday of veteran mountain climber, Harry Winstone, 33, fatally injured when he slid more than 1,000 feet down the snow-covered slopes of Mt. Argus, will be held here Saturday. A coroner's jury viewed the body Monday night.

The body was removed by RCAF helicopter from Air-Sea Rescue, Vancouver, after two Victoria men had maintained an all-night vigil at the 5,800 foot level. The helicopter also took out Paul Martinson, 1149 Oliver, Victoria, and Reginald Knott, 630 Foul Bay Road, Victoria, who had spent the night with the dead man on the cold, lonely heights.

Winstone's fatal fall occurred shortly after noon Sunday when he apparently tried to get out of the way of a falling boulder, lost his footing and fell down an 80-foot rock face before the long slide over the snow. It is believed he was knocked unconscious in the fall which caused his death later.

He was a member of a five-man party led by Syd Watts, Duncan, attempting to scale Red Pillar Mountain. Watts and John Weir, 630 Foul Bay Road, Victoria, started down the mountain to get help, making a 16-hour trek which brought them out at 5 a.m. Monday. They reached the cars where Arthur Burrows, Chemainus, and Ronald Paver, 2561 Cavendish, Victoria, were waiting. They contacted the RCMP and informed Air-Sea Rescue of the tragedy.

Burrows said the climb started at 10 a.m. Saturday from the end of the Comox logging road. They arrived at the base camp on the 5,000 foot level at 7.30 p.m. and spent the night there. The final climb started at 5 a.m. Sunday and "we all agreed to start back at noon." Burrows was forced to quit when his knee gave out so he headed back to base camp while the other eight continued on. On the glacier three more turned back, Weir, Paver and Keith Morton of Courtenay.

"They were about half-way up when the tragedy occurred," Burrows said. "Syd (Watts) told us all that at the time they had started down the mountain to get help, Harry was alive. He was unconscious but was breathing. We were all broken up badly by the accident. Harry was an experienced and very cautious climber. In fact we all were. He always took the greatest safety precautions when climbing anywhere."

Not Roped
Burrows said the party was not roped together. "When we started out we didn't think it was necessary." Knott, contacted in Victoria today, was still too disturbed to talk about his night on the mountain with his dying companion.

The mountain's victim was born in Vienna in 1926. A graduate of London University of Engineering, he came to Vancouver in 1957. He was employed at B.C. Forest Products Ltd. Crofton pulp mill as a professional mechanical engineer. A member of the Alpine Club of Canada and the Island Mountain Ramblers, he was also a member of the district council of Mt. Brenton Boy Scouts Association and chairman of the Crofton ratepayers Association.

He is survived by his widow, Mary, a son Michael and a daughter Jennifer.

Last Rites
Funeral service will be held from All Saint's Anglican Church, Westholme, Thursday at 2 p.m.. Rev. P. Horsefilee of Alberni, officiating. Cremation will follow at Royal Oak Burial Park, Saanich. Hirst Funeral Chapel Ltd. Duncan, is in charge of arrangements. The family has asked that no flowers be sent but that any donations be sent to Unitarian Service Committee, Ottawa.



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