King’s Creek ice crag (WI3-3+)

Grade: WI 2+-3+

Approach: 1 hour from Canmore, 15 min hike into climbing area

Climbs: 4+ single pitch climbs

Gear notes: Bring a 70m rope if you can, some of these climbs are quite long.  At least two of the climbs we did had bolts and chains, but also bring gear to build a top rope.  All climbs must be lead.  Don’t forget the chocolate, it makes the world go around and everyone happy if it’s a bitterly cold day.

On Day Two of my whirlwind Canadian Rockies weekend, Jason and I headed out first to King’s Creek and then Grotto Falls.  At this point it was a balmy, -9 deg C and the air was wetter than the first day with some morning snow.  This means that one feels the cold more than if the temps were lower but the air was dryer.  So needless to say, it felt really cold.  Unlike the day before which just felt cold, not “really”.

King’s Creek was about an hour from Canmore.  It’s 15 minute walk from the small car parking area to where the ice is.  It’s a great ice climbing crag, with 4 solid ice climbs, a few partial ice climbs and some mixed routes.  The climbs range from WI3-3+.  Some of these climbs can be quite long, so its good to bring a 70m rope if you have one. None of the climbs are top-ropable, they all must be initially led.  We used King’s Creek as a site for me to get in some mock leading.  The best practice a climber can get while learning to lead ice is to mock lead up something vertical and then have to downclimb it and pull all the screws.  One needs to be solid moving in all directions on a grade to be leading it – up, down and side to side.  It’s important to place your tool above and a little to the side of the screw and then pull on it with the opposite hand, the helps pull you into the ice as your pulling the screw in at waist height.

The majority of the ice which forms here comes from seeps not, water running down the rocks.  As the temperature drops and the water freezes it expands and is forced out of the cracks of the rock as ice.  Remember that when you look at these photos of fat ice!  That’s a lot of water being pushed out!  Ok, onto the photos.

King's Creek. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

Jason leading up the first climb. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

Now that I've mock loed and placed screws, it was time to downclimb and take them all out! Great way to learn to lead. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

Snow blowing off the peaks in the distance. King's Creek. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

Second climb at King's Creek. This climb was funky. The ice vacilated from a bit mushy to hard and brittle. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

We spent the second half of the day at Grotto Falls….onto that climb.

~ by Genevieve Hathaway on December 13, 2010.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: