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You Have to Ice Skate to These New Ice Climbs

Two new multi-pitch ice routes have been established above Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park

Photo by: Maison Leitch on Call of the Siren FA

We’re well into ice climbing season now as we head into the second month of winter. While some places in Canada known to have fat ice had a slow start, classics from coast to coast are now in and getting climbed.

In Banff National Park, two new routes were just climbed above Lake Minnewanka near the town of Banff. Both require skating along the frozen lake and add to the growing number of routes next to the famous body of water that ends in the Ghost River Valley.

Marc Godbout and Maison Leitch first established the four-pitch Meanderthal, a 210-metre WI3+ that required an 18-kilometre approach. They towed their gear on sleds before making a hundreds-of-metres approach up a drainage with small ice steps. The pitches go at WI2, WI2, WI3+ and WI3. The views are amazing.

The next route Godbout and Leitch climbed above the lake was Call of the Siren, a 145-metre WI3+ M3. The route adds new pitches to the established climb Nietzsche Stick. The pitches go at WI3+, WI3, WI2 M3 and a 70-metre WI3 (Nietzsche Stick). Due to the difficult approach and climbing, the Leitch said, “This is a route that exists and has been climbed. Wouldn’t go so far to say that it’s worthy of many ascents, but you might just enjoy it.”

Several other routes have been climbed above the lake, including the seven-pitch Odyssey WI4 and four-pitch Lake Monster WI4. Mountain Project has more info on the area here.

High on Meanderthal. Photo by Marc Godbout
Lead photo: Maison Leitch on Call of the Siren FA