Ice Climb­ing Re­sources

Gripped - - CONTENTS - By Tim Ban­field

On­line Re­sources and Epic Pho­tos

Climbers have been head­ing up frozen wa­ter­falls in Canada for decades and a lot has changed, from the equip­ment and pro­tec­tion to where climbers find in­for­ma­tion on climbs and safety. Many ex­pe­ri­enced ice climbers be­gan when there was no in­ter­net to use as a re­source. They re­lied on jour­nals, clubs, hear-say and guide­books.

In 2018, with ev­ery­thing at your fin­ger­tips, the way ice climb­ing in­for­ma­tion is passed along is very dif­fer­ent. Many new ice climbers started af­ter the dawn of Face­book and so­cial me­dia, so nat­u­rally those are the places they’re ac­cus­tomed to go­ing for in­for­ma­tion. And while Face­book and In­sta­gram are great places to get started, in the end every clim­ber should be fa­mil­iar with the many re­sources avail­able.

Climb­ing Apps

Climb­ing apps are still sort of new in Canada and many of them are work­ing out the kinks. Sloper Climb­ing is an au­thor-based app that has valu­able in­for­ma­tion for routes across Canada. Guide­book au­thors (of­ten the most knowl­edge­able about lo­cal climb­ing) like Chris Perry and Kevin Mclane en­ter in their in­for­ma­tion from their best sell­ing guide­books into Sloper for users. Will Gadd’s new Ice and Mixed app com­bines the ice and mixed climb­ing guide­books of Western Canada into one dig­i­tal ver­sion. In­for­ma­tion is still be­ing added, but it will soon be the go-to re­sources for win­ter climb­ing.

Avalanche Ter­rain Rat­ings

Parks Canada has given avalanche clas­si­fi­ca­tions to most pop­u­lar routes in the Cana­dian Rock­ies. They break it down to sim­ple, chal­leng­ing and com­plex. An ex­am­ple would be Louise Falls is sim­ple and Po­lar Cir­cus is com­plex. There’s a print friendly ver­sion that you can find on­line here pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/mtn/ se­cu­ri­teen­mon­tagne-moun­tain­safety/avalanche/ echelle-rat­ings/eeta-ates.

Avalanche Safety

This is most im­por­tant for ice climbers head­ing into the moun­tains. Whether the hazard is low or high will de­ter­mine where you go that day. Avalanche.ca is the place to go for fore­casts. Read the in­for­ma­tion on what the daily up­dates mean. Check it every time you plan to go out.

Con­di­tions Sites

This might seem old-school, but con­di­tions sites are of­ten mod­er­ated by lo­cal climbers and can be more eas­ily searched than so­cial me­dia. For On­tario ice con­di­tions, check out ko­los.ca/cur­rent­con­di­tions. For B.C. ice con­di­tions, check out west­coas­tice.com. For East Coast and Que­bec con­di­tions visit ne­ice.com. For Rock­ies con­di­tions, check out gravs­ports-ice.com.

ACC, Guides and Guide­books

Be­fore you go re­ly­ing on quick an­swers from so­cial me­dia, go to the ex­perts. There are climb­ing guides in nearly every province in Canada and they are there to help. Your safety and knowl­edge about an ice climb­ing is worth the cost of hir­ing a guide for a day.

Guide­books are still big busi­ness in Canada. There are printed guide­books for most of the win­ter ar­eas. Some of them are out of print, but can be found at the lo­cal li­brary or by ask­ing around town. They’re full of valu­able in­for­ma­tion.

The Alpine Club of Canada (acc) has been of­fer­ing in­tro­duc­tory cour­ses and sem­i­nars for decades. Find your lo­cal sec­tion and touch base with them. Be­ing a mem­ber of the club is how many ice climbers get started.—gripped

Op­po­site:Jo Pe­ung climb­ing Ice Nine in Banff Na­tional Park along the Ice­fields Park­way in Alta.Left: Pa­trick Lind­say lead­ing the rarely formed Danc­ing With Chaos along the Ice­fields Park­way in Banff Na­tional Park, Alta.

Bot­tom left: Lind­say lead­ing Carls­berg Col­umn in Field, B.C. Be­low: Steve Camp­bell lead­ing Sad­dam’s In­sane, WI5 100 m, Kananaskis, Alta.

Left: Lind­say on Pil­sner Pil­lar in Field, B.C.

Be­low: Rip­tide on Mount Pat­ter­son

Op­po­site: Marko De­le­salle lead­ing the first pitch of Sacre Bleu, WI5 in Banff Na­tional Park, Alta. Above: Lind­say lead­ing Carls­berg Col­umn in Field, B.C.

Above: Steve Camp­bell on Sad­dam’s In­sane WI5 in Kananaskis, Alta.Left: Seb Taborszky climb­ing SacreBleu in Banff Na­tional Park, Alta.

Op­po­site: Kris Ir­win start­ing the sec­ond pitch of Danc­ing With Chaos just be­fore we backed off, Banff Na­tional Park, Alta.

Be­low: Kris Ir­win start­ing the sec­ond pitch of Danc­ing With Chaos just be­fore we backed off, Banff Na­tional Park, Alta.

Right:Zac Col­bran climb­ing the first pitch of Kitty Hawk, WI5, nearNordegg, Alta.

Above: Jo Pe­ung climb­ing Ice Nine in Banff Na­tional Park along the Ice­fields Park­way in Alta.

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