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When ice climbs melt it’s time to clean up

Every year, when all of the snow and ice melts, items left by ice climbers remain. Climbers in the Rockies are organizing a collective effort to clean it up.

Spring melts the snow, but it also reveals things accidentally lost during winter. Ice climbers sometimes drop things  and can’t find them in the snow. From ice screws to tools, deep snow has been known to bury packs.

Beyond all of the dropped items, ice climbers leave pieces of cordelette in the ice to rappel off, they are known as V-threads or abalakovs.

When the ice melts, the cord ends up on the ground at the base of the ice climb. Winter after winter, the cord piles up, leaving an unsightly scene of weathered nylon in an otherwise natural area.

On one occasion, climbers cleaned more than 70 pieces of leftover equipment and cord from the base of Louise Falls.

With hundreds of climbs across Canada, you can imagine how much waste is piling up beneath the walls.

Climbers in Canmore have attempted to rally this spring and organize a clean up. Visit Grav-sports here for more details.

Maurice Perreault has spent some time cleaning up the base of climbs. He describes the photo below, “I cleaned up Murchison & Whimper Wall last summer, so they’ll be clean for a few years yet. Whimper Wall had never been cleaned-up, notice the two conduits in the picture. Filled my backback with 80-plus cord assemblies from Murchison. Curtain Call, Shades of Beauty are popular. Polar Circus must be disgusting, but getting in there wouldn’t be so easy.”

If you know of a popular climb near you that might have cord or junk at the base, go clean it up. You never know, you might go home with some “new” screws or biners.