Sunday, November 20, 2011
Seeing on how it is now officially ice climbing season (not for all of us but close) I figured this would be a good time to start changing it up a little.
When I used to live in Banff, there was this amazing little route that was a few minutes drive from my house with a quick approach that was a great way to spend an afternoon (or morning). I never saw anyone else out there, I usually set the hiking track, and the ice was always so good. Maybe it wasn't this big pumpy grade 5 multi pitch but, with 25m of beautiful blue ice you could set an anchor and do as many laps as you wanted. Also, a very good place to get someone into the sport; comfortable. As far as I know this climb is only threatened by avalanche during big cycles (ie: high hazard, lots of storm snow) as it is located almost at the bottom of a drainage/creek. It is usually formed up by December and it just gets fatter as the season progresses. By March the sun starts to hit it more and the ice usually deteriorates, but from my experience it is pretty dependable every season by the start of December. A good Christmas climb???!!!
STEP RIGHT UP
WI3 - 25M
Approach: Turn onto Highway 1A (Bow Valley Parkway) from Banff (10mins) and drive about 1.5km to a small interpretive pull-out (reference). Drive down another 150/200m or so until you hit a small stream that crosses the road (sparse trees). Pull-over, park here and head up the gully/creek for 1km to the route. At first the trail is in the woods and as you get further up you will notice the creek (icy under your feet). Eventually the creek will get steeper and more frozen (sometimes crampons will be needed here) to where it will become a small canyon where a big log jam will need to be passed. The falls should be visible from here.
Climb: Climb a little Wi1 to a beautiful curtain with lots of variations (the middle usually being the steepest. Rappel off V-Thread. Going exploring up the canyon is kinda fun too!