Calgary co-workers die in cliff fall

Two Calgarians were killed while rappelling down a cliff Sunday afternoon at the Heart Creek Mountain area near Canmore, Alta.

RCMP say man and woman were tied together when they fell

Emergency teams were able to quickly locate the bodies of the climbers near Heart Creek Trail thanks to the directions of a witness. (Kyle Bakx/CBC News)

Two people who died in a rock climbing accident Sunday at the Heart Creek Mountain area near Canmore, Alta., about 80 kilometres west of Calgary, were friends and co-workers.

RCMP said the pair fell 80 or 90 metres. The man has been identified as Ranjit Sidhu, 31, of Calgary. The woman is also from Calgary but her name has not yet been released. Police said she was in her 20s.

Ground units from Canmore and Kananaskis, Alta., along with conservation officers hiked a couple of kilometres along the Heart Creek Trail to retrieve the bodies of the climbers from a dry creek bed at the bottom of the valley, Stuart Brideaux with Calgary EMS said.

The pair were equipped with the proper helmets and ropes for rock climbing, Brideaux said.

RCMP said on Monday the couple were on the same rope, rappelling down the mountain when they fell.

A spokesman called rock climbing a "dangerous" sport, adding that it is the third rappelling accident in two weeks.

There are more than 70 rock-climbing routes at Heart Creek, ranging in skill level from easy to extremely difficult. Nearly all the routes are what climbers call the "sport" variety, meaning there are safety bolts drilled into the rock face for people to hook safety equipment into as they ascend.

The Heart Creek Mountain area west of Calgary has more than 70 rock-climbing routes and is frequently visited by climbers from the city. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)