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[TR] Banff - How to climb ice in late March 3/30/2012

Peter Way

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Trip: Banff - How to climb ice in late March


Date: 3/30/2012


Trip Report:

The short answer, get out of Washington. So I took off for Canada and spent 6 days in the Canadian Rockys. I went up there by myself and had some probs finding people to climb with but that didn't stop me.

Day 1 Johnson Canyon, I can get to the top of the climbs so I solo top rope 3 lines up it.

Day 2 I hike to the top of Louise Falls and solo top rope 2 lines up it.

Day 3 Still no climbing partner. It's Saturday so I go to the Weeping Wall, I'm bound to find someone to climb with there right. I get there early. It's cold -21C or -6F. There are 2 cars in the parking lot. I hike up to the climb and find a guided group of 12 people setting up 4 ropes and getting ready to take over the whole wall. I drop my pack, grab my tools and ropes, pick a pretty easy going line and free solo the wall. I'm rapped out by 10.30 and wondering what to to do with the rest of the day. I go do a hike at Bow Lake.

Day 4 Zane and I hike the 5k into into Whiteman Falls. There are 2 teams already there, one is on the climb, we go Rock, Paper, Scissors with the other guys and win. It's a very cool climb. My lead

Day 5 Zane, Barrie and I drive to Field. We climb 3 short pitches of WI3 in Guinness Gully to get to High Test, 55 meters WI5. My lead

Day 6 Zane and I drive back to field and send a lift hand line up Carlsburg, 60 meters WI5. My lead. We're done by 12.30. By 3.30 I'm on the road back to Potland.

It's well worth the drive.


Johnson Canyon


Weeping Wall


Whiteman Falls


High Test




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Looks like you had a good trip. You don't get that kind of ice here even in the dead of winter.


March is the best time for Banff, warmer and longer days, but late March you have to be careful. We were on Weeping wall one time and our belay screws were melting out within minutes. Kept having to cover them with snow and re place them.

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That was some nice hero ice you got to climb on. By Tuesday things had changed a bit with 50F temps at Rampart for two days. Climax slides to the ground were common. Including down both Guiness and Carlsberg. Then a couple of feet of snow Friday and Sat in Lake Louise sent the avi conditions through the roof again.


-17C at Rampart i nthe morning and 12C by mid afternoon. Icefields highway was closed because of the slides crossing the roads. Much of what you had climbed had fallen down or was melted out by mid week.


Count yourself very lucky for a Late March trip :)

But good on ya for getting it done!

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