Guided Ice Climbs in the Canadian Rockies
Location: Banff, Alberta, Canada Dates: Custom programs available February 20 to March 15, 2013
The waterfall ice climbing in the National Parks of the Canadian Rockies is some of the best in the world. Whether you want to dial in your mixed climbing technique or climb long rambling ice for thousands of feet, the Rockies have it all.
Some of the Classics
Cascade Falls – WI3, 1000’
One of the earliest classics in the Rockies, Cascade Falls begins with nice WI3 climbing after about a ten minute walk from the car. Many pitches of moderate ice lead to a final steeper flow of WI3 that is climbed in two pitches. A great warm up route in the Rockies!
The Professor Falls – WI4, 1000’
Nestled under the immense north flank of Mt. Rundle, The Professor Falls ascends a series of steep flows and big ledges. Pitch after fantastic pitch takes us higher towards the penultimate (and crux) pitch, a long and narrow WI4 tube. A classic anywhere!
Weeping Wall – WI4-5, 700’
A football field sized sheet of ice that lies a stone’s throw from the Icefields Parkway. Here we find an assortment of headwalls, grooves, and pillars that wind their way upwards to a massive ledge where the descent begins. The Weeping Wall is one of the uber-classics of ice climbing anywhere in the world.
Guinness Gully –WI4, 1000’
Tucked into the mountainside above Field, British Columbia, Guinness Gully is the a stellar route on the western slope of the Rockies. A short and steep hike leads to the first WI4 pitch. More WI3 to WI4 pitches follow before the final rope stretching pitch of WI3+ takes us to the top. A fantastic glissade back to the car is another memorable moment from this great climb!
Polar Circus – WI5, 1500’
Perhaps the most classic long ice route in the Rockies. The first ascent in the early 1970s took two days, but now the route is routinely done in one long day. Many pitches of WI3-4 lead to a final steep flow where a short bit of WI5 is encountered. A series of long rappels lead back to the base and a short stroll back to the car.
Haffner Creek – Mixed Climbing
A fantastic place to hone your mixed climbing skillset. A half hour walk leads into a hidden grotto where ice and mixed routes adorn the canyon walls. With dozens of lines from WI3 to M12, there is something for everyone. A great place to get pumped silly!
The Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge is our favorite due to its central location in Canmore. And perhaps more importantly for its hot tub and sauna which prove quite restorative at the end of a day’s climbing. Many other hotel and hostel options exist in Banff and Canmore.
For climbs along the Icefields Parkway, the favorite spot is the Rampart Creek Hostel, a rustic hostel with propane-powered lights and a sauna. Alternately–with an early start–it is possible to drive to the Icefields Parkway from Canmore each day.
Most visiting climbers fly into Calgary, Alberta and rent a car for the duration of their stay. If you’re coming from Washington, Idaho, or Montana, most folks prefer to drive north to the program area. Due to insurance requirements, guests must provide transportation during this program.
Please visit the rates & registration page for more information.