Canmore: A Whirlwind Ice Weekend

I headed out this past weekend to Canmore via the Lynden border, Abbotsford, and Calgary.  Everything is big, impressive and rugged in the Canadian Rockies.  Besides Seattle (I’ve had a life long love affair with Mt. Rainier), the Canadian Rockies is one of the few places I could live.  Around every stretch of highway and bend, the mountains are more and more breathtaking.  It’s an ice climber’s candy shop, a 7 month long season and climbs everywhere one looks.

To reach Calgary I flew WestJet, an airlines that’s a throw back to the old days when airlines treated customers with class, respect, and friendly smiles.  They even served free non-alcoholic beverages, cookies and munchies and didn’t charge to use the restroom.  For more on this awesome airlines check out my review here.

My mission in Canmore was to climb a load of ice and learn some good leading techniques and skills from ice climber extraordinaire  Jason Wheeler.  This was my first waterfall ice of the season, all seracing had been fun but it doesn’t compare to some solid WI.

A few days before I arrived in Canmore the temps were -30 deg C!!  That’s freakin’ cold!  Luckily, I was able to skip out on this special Canadian Rockies treat.  The temperature rose to between -15 deg C and -9 deg C on Friday, so when on arrived in Calgary it was practically balmy!  At -30 C the ice gets so brittle that it can be quite prone to shatter or dinner plate, not to mention it’s so cold it can be hard for ones hands to function.

On the ice agenda for the short two days I was in Canmore was This House of Sky in the Ghost, King’s Creek and Grotto Falls.  This House of Sky would kick the weekend off with a WI 2-5 climb with 500m of 12 pitches.  King’s Creek was WI3-4 and Grotto Falls was WI 3.  A great way to begin my waterfall ice season!

Onto the climbs…..

This House of Sky

King’s Creek

Grotto Falls


~ by Genevieve Hathaway on December 3, 2010.

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