Grotto Falls (WI3, 55m)

Grade: WI3

Pitches: 2 pitches, 55m

Condition: All picked out when we were there.  It’s a very popular climbing area, especially with the guides, so be prepared for both crowds and the potential of the climbs being picked out.  Other climbs in Grotto Canyon/Falls area is the mixed climbs His and Hers.

Approach: 15 min from the car. Hike into the back of the canyon, turn right and the climb is straight ahead.

Gear: 50m – 70m rope. This climb has bolts at both the top and middle of the climb, but still bring plenty of anchor building material. Cannot be top roped, must be led.

After spending the morning ice climbing at King’s Creek, we headed to Grotto Falls to get in a quick climb of this spunky little two pitch WI 3 ice climb.  The climb is quite popular so beware it could be pretty picked out.  We arrived late in the day, just as all the hoards were migrating out of the canyon; we had this climb all to ourselves.  On this particular day, you could hear the water running underneath the upper pitch, so we climbed it delicately.

Approach to Grotto Falls. The tiny creek transforms into a floor of ice during the week thanks to underground water being forced to the surface when temperatures get cold. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

Grotto Falls. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

Jason leading up the first pitch of Grotto Falls. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

Pitch 2 of Grotto Falls. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

It was a great weekend of great ice and great routes!  I learned a ton about leading ice, climbed a lot of pitches in two days and a lot of mileage, and had a blast.  My trips to Canmore are always too fleeting and when I leave that big peak country I  feel an ache in my heart and a yearning to return as quickly as possible.  With 2010 closing in a few weeks, I won’t get back again this year – though two trips to Canmore, one in February and one in November, wasn’t too shabby for this year.  Maybe in a few months, after South Korea, Cambodia and Portugal I’ll be able to get back to this land of mountains and ice.  After all, the Canadian Rockies do proudly sport a 7 month long ice climbing season.  Till next time Canmore.

~ by Genevieve Hathaway on December 14, 2010.

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