The ice-climbing in Canmore/Banff is world-class, and there is just so so much of it in a concentrated area. One reason for me making a stop in Canmore was to continue to get more experience leading on this medium that is relatively new to me (compared to rock). It was pretty incredible to have my first days of the ice-climbing season be in this location.
A typical 9am in Canmore
Yeah, it was a wet start to this route.
Here is a picture of me before I got really really cold, and in a rare moment when more than the bridge of my nose was showing. So yes, it’s like a lot of Facebook pictures which are not representative of reality most of the time :)
Who needs a pushup bra when you can stuff a couple of gloves into your chest.
Our second day was colder, with the humidity making the perceived temperature be around -20 degC. You know something is wrong when you are so fuckin’ bundled up, you cannot see your climbing harness and the ice-screws sticking out from it.
The first pitch of yesterday’s climb. A nice sheltered belay.
You can maybe start to see why Canmore ice-climbing is considered world class, and why the Alpine Club of Canada headquarters are here. So so much waterfall ice here.
However, yesterday’s conditions and my own maladies made it border on one of those “I don’t give a shit if I never ever ice-climb again” times. Considerable snow fall on top of even harder more bulletproof ice made for slow going today. Without getting good sticks in, I felt the insecurity of my left leg even more and felt pretty depressed about it, as big plate after plate of ice would come down and I struggled to get screws into the ice. Ice-climbing, to me, is much more lower-body-centric than rock climbing because of how centered and symmetric you want to be, when moving and when placing a screw in, in tougher conditions. And the low angle stuff is all lower body. I suppose stranger things have happened, but I am pretty sure I will never feel in my element while ice-climbing. Wet, then frozen every thing. But it’s a nice diversion I suppose, I like expanding my knowledge of all kinds of climbing, and being pushed out of your comfort zone is a good thing. I’m sure I will be stoked on it again some time in the not too distant future, especially if I can climb in more comfortable conditions.