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Ice Climbing Weekly Update #1: Game On in Canadian Rockies

"The Winter of the Great Divide: Wet, white, and wild in the West, everything crazy in the East”

It’s game on for ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies, as a week of temps dipping to -20°C has ensured an earlier-than-normal start to the season. While many classic lines will need a few weeks to form, some hard mixed and steep-ice routes are being climbed throughout the Rockies.

Kidd Falls in Kananaskis Country, a route famous for its high avalanche hazard, has been climbed this fall. The two-pitch WI4 has two pillars that form below a monster snow slope. If you want to climb this must-do moderate then get on it before the snow piles up and winds start to blow.

On that note, be sure to check Avalanche Canada for the daily avi report. If you’re an ice climber in the mountains, read this story about why you should carry avalanche gear.

In Storm Creek, Rockies alpine and ice guide Kris Irwin climbed Buddha Nature with Sebastian Taborszky. Storm Creek was featured in Gripped magazine in fall 2019 in a story by Jon Walsh. We’ll be posting that story with the topo of the Storm Creek Headwall this week, so climbers have up-to-date information on the routes.

Near Field, B.C., Twisted has started to form nicely but hasn’t had any ascents this year. With Twisted forming this early, that’s a good sign for the Beer Climbs and modern mixed routes close to Twisted.

In the Bow Valley, Super Dark in Protection Valley was climbed by Ian Welsted and Nikolai Paterak, which means there might be a race to get on it this weekend. Also in with a rarely-formed right-hand finish is Bourgeau Left near Banff Sunshine ski area.

In Kananaskis Country, Amadeus appears in and will likely get some attention this weekend.

Peter Hoang, Alik Berg and Dylan Cunningham have reportedly climbed a new route with details expected out this week.

The Canadian Rockies are one of the best places in the world to ice and mixed climb, and with so many Canadians staying close to home this winter, this might be one of the busiest years to date.

The Canadian Farmers’ Almanac has an unusual forecast this year, calling it “The Winter of the Great Divide: Wet, white, and wild in the West, everything crazy in the East.” That could mean that ice climbing in Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes, B.C. and in the far north will likely get an early start this season.

We’ll bring a weekly update throughout the season of new routes and conditions in Canada, the U.S.A. and from around the world.

Stay safe and have fun.

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