Marc-Andre Leclerc started ice climbing when he was 15. The now 22-year-old has made a name for himself by climbing fast and using a combination of solo/rope-solo techniques up many of Canada’s classic routes.
Two of the main attractions during the Rockies’ ice climbing season are Weeping Wall WI5 150 metres and Polar Circus WI5 600 metres.
Many folks would be happy to bag one during their season. Squamish-local Leclerc, who has been in the Rockies for November, decided to bang them both off in a morning. Leclerc was fresh from a rare ascent of Wild Thing on Mount Chephren when he headed up the Icefield Parkway with two friends. On Nov. 20, he spent two hours soloing the iconic Polar Circus and then headed over to Weeping Wall where he spent an hour soloing Weeping Wall Right. He estimates it took about six hours car-to-car. He said the upper Weeping Pillar looked too dangerous to climb, so descended and waited by the van for his partners to return from Polar Circus.
When asked about the day, Leclerc said, “Super classics. I had both routes to myself except my friends who I passed on pitch one while descending Polar Circus. Upper Weeping Pillar is there, but looks a bit sketchy and has dangerous dirty icicles threatening the first pitch. Decided not to do it. Catching a bus back to the coast now.”
The two routes have been soloed many times in a day. In 1991, Richard Ouairy soloed Weeping Wall, Polar Circus Ice Nine WI6 in a day. In 2002, Rolando Garibotti and Bruno Sourzac made the first and fastest link-up of Polar Circus, Weeping Wall/Weeping Pillar and Slipstream, in 15:15 hours car-to-car, which involved 1,700 m of climbing to WI6.