Author Topic: Need info on ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies  (Read 774 times)

Offline mike

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Need info on ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies
« on: October 29, 2001, 03:06:14 PM »
Looking for info on ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies.  

Any recommended guidebooks?

Recommended time of year?  Thinking late February or March.  Want to be able to train most of the winter in NE before we go out.

Where are the best areas for long ice/mountaineering routes?  The longer the better.

How are the huts/hostels?  Expensive?  Should we reserve ahead of time?

Thanks,

Mike

Offline Admin Al

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Re: Need info on ice climbing in the Canadian Rock
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2001, 08:20:37 PM »
Mike,

I have gone to the Canadian Rockies for the past 3 years. I probably won't go this year, dot com fallout hit me too,  but I'd sure like to. <sigh> the ice there is pretty spectacular. you can do about as many grade 4 routes as you would ever want, but there are 3's as well. but even better there are a TON of 5 & 6's as well as a gazillion mixed routes.  there is something for everyone. the closest to that kind of ice on the East Coast is Lake Willoughby or Pomme D'Or. we're talking big ice here. full multi pitches of monster pillars that can be really intimidating the first time you see them. the Weeping Wall is a good example. it is a football field wide & 3-4 pitches of grade 5 ice. besides that there are a number of additional grade 6 climbs on an upper level that are amazing. just to the right of that is the aptly named Wimper Wall. it has 3 pitches of great climbing as well. OK OK, so here are the answers to your questions:

1 - the guidebook is Jo Josephson's 'Waterfall Ice'. excellent book, tho occasionally the directions are a bit flakey. overall well done. you may also want to pick up the Mixed book as well. I don't have it so I don't remember who wrote it.

2 - I usually go around the end of February. it is REALLY cold in December/January. the only problem with when I go is that it can be too warm. that's right, it can get in the upper 30's range at that time of year & the ice is starting to come down. last year it was definitely on the warm side. the two previous years it was fine. maybe mid-February would be best. I also like having the longer days!

3 - if you want alpine routes I suggest the Icefields Parkway. it is off the road that goes betweek banff & Jasper. there are as many big alpine routes as you would ever want. pick up the Selected Alpine Routes in the Canadian Rockies. start at one end and work your way thru. I suggest starting with Mt. Athabasca & going from there. it will give you a good intro to the genere. I did Polar Circus last year. it is not a 'mountain' alpine route, but it is definitely serious. a good warmup for that is Kitty Hawk.

4 - 2 of the 3 years we stayed at the Alpine Club of Canada hostel at Canmore. it is 1-2 hours away from the climbing, but it is THE social scene. you might see any of the heavyweights there at any time. Twight, Synnott, etc. you can pick up partners there too. the price is good, $12 US a nite if you are a ACC member. you get a discount on ACC membership if you are an AAC member. it all adds up to discounts! you can also stay at the hostel in Lake Louise. it is nice & 1 hour further North. we stayed there once & it was very nice. just more skiiers than climbers and a bit more expensive. there are also some rustic huts right in the climbing areas. no running water, electricity the like. still you are close to the action & lots of climbers stay there on a shoestring. call up the ACC Canmore office & talk with them. they can advise you. I have always made reservations as things to get crowded.

5 - I always fly into Calgary & rent a car there. you will definitely need a car for everything. on the way out of town I stop & get groceries so I can cook all my meals in Canmore in their kitchen. it saves mucho $$$. there is a place on the way out of Calgary called The Coop. get a membership, free, and it saves you 5 percent off your purchases.

6 - you may want to check out the hard climbs in the Ghost. if you do you will absolutely need a 4 wheel drive vehicle with high ground clearance. don't let anyone talk you into anything else.

7 - there are 2 super places to hang on your "rest days" within 15 minutes of the hostel in Canmore - the Grotto and the Junkyard. I always end up there a couple of times just doing fun grade 3 solo things. don't miss it.

last but not least:
remember with the exchange rate your money is worth more. gas is expensive! also, be sure to eat at the sushi restraunt in Canmore after you tick your biggest route. it's tradition. <g>

feel free to ask for more info & check out the links on the site here for the ACC.

cheers...
Al Hospers
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Offline Admin Al

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Al Hospers
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web hosting, design and software programming:
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