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Early Season Ice Dangers with Warm Weather

High temperatures will create dangerous conditions in the Canadian Rockies for ice climbers

Some big ice routes in the Canadian Rockies have formed and been climbed this year, including Replicant and Rainbow Serpent. With temperatures rising to nearly 15 degrees this weekend in the front rangers, many routes will be falling down.

Tim Banfield, who recently climbed Rainbow Serpent WI6 in the Recital Hall in the Ghost, said, “a dagger fell in the Recital Hall while we were there a couple days ago and almost semi-squished us close to the base of Fearful Symmetry the other day. Don’t let all the flashy Instagram photos trick you. It wasn’t that warm and the sun had not been on Fearful for long when it happened. I’ve heard of a couple groups heading there tomorrow and it’s supposed to be 12c and sunny. There was a lot more debris than shows in this photo and a rope got core shot. Just feel like the couple posts circulating might discount that hazard in there right now.”

In the Bow Valley and along the Icefields Parkway, climbs that are regularly formed now have melted out, including Cascade Falls and Grotto Falls. If you’re in the Canadian Rockies, it might be a good time to head indoors or find high, north-facing routes that don’t get November sun. Also, be sure to check the avalanche conditions here.

Ice fall in Recital Hall, fall 2019 Photo Tim Banfield