Ice Climbing Atlas Can Save Lives
Surveys are helping avalanche and climbing professionals to map threatened terrain in the Canadian Rockies
The Canadian Rockies have some of the world’s best and most famous waterfall ice climbs, but most of them are in areas threatened by potentially deadly avalanches. Avalanche Canada has been working to educate ice climbers on the threats posed on certain climbs. To watch an avalanche rip over the climb Bourgeau Left WI5 visit here.
The Ice Climbing Atlas Project is a collaboration between Avalanche Canada, veteran winter climber and guide Sarah Hueniken, and Grant Statham, a visitor safety specialist in Banff National Park. As Avalanche Canada notes, “The intention of the atlas is to provide an overview of historical avalanche observations from popular ice climbs in the Rockies. It is a work in progress and will be updated as information from more climbs is collected.”
Observations are collected through surveys done online over fixed periods of time. The results are published here along with detailed analysis and images showing where avalanche threats exist. “Our hope is that by sharing historical data, climbers can better understand the avalanche hazard that exists on these popular climbs,” the project notes. “We strongly encourage all ice climbers to always carry avalanche safety gear—transceiver, probe, and shovel.”
For an interview with Statham on why ice climbers should always carry avalanche gear when in avalanche terrain, visit here. Spring is no time to let your guard down, so always be sure to check the avalanche conditions here. You can also upload observations from your day in the mountains here. And be sure to check the Ice Climbing Atlas here to learn more about some of the Rockies most popular ice climbs.