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These Rockies Ice Climbs Are Closed

Some of the most popular beginner ice climbing areas are off limits this season

Photo by: (of) Johnston Canyon - currently closed

The Canadian Rockies are one of the world’s most popular ice climbing locations, but some of the most popular routes are off limits this winter. Due to construction on a parking lot, the Grassi Lakes area has been closed since last spring. This means that access to the Junkyards and Scottish Gully is not allowed. Both climbs are two of the most popular introductory climbs in the Bow Valley. The area is scheduled to open sometime in 2023.

Cougar Creek is also closed, which means there’s no access to the popular Ghoster Coaster, a three-pitch WI3 far up the canyon. The area has been closed for three years with no plan to reopen before 2025.

Johnston Canyon between Banff and Lake Louise is also closed to ice climbers this winter. Parks Canada is installing a new railing and the construction has closed access to tourists and climbers. There are rumours that the area will be permanently closed to climbers as the cliffs are a nesting site for endangered black swifts. The canyon is home to several fun lines from WI2 and up. Prism Falls is a classic WI5 that is currently off limits.

Fun alternatives to the closed areas including Kings Creek WI2/3, Grotto Falls WI3, Heart Creek Falls WI2, Bear Spirit WI4 and Hamilton Falls WI3. Follow Rockies Ice and Mixed Conditions for regular updates on the area here.

Bear Spirit is great for top-rope laps. Photo by Brandon Pullan
Lead photo: (of) Johnston Canyon - currently closed