The entire western half of Canada contains range after range of wilderness peaks, starting with the great massifs of Mount Logan and Mount St. Elias in the north, with their Denali-like climbing and scale, and extending south to the Coast Range and Mount Waddington, five hundred miles north of Vancouver. All of these remote ranges are heavily glaciated and offer major wilderness ice adventures to those willing to make the discovery on their own. In the winter months the mountains of Vancouver Island provide more accessible but still very exciting and little-known Scottish-type climbing on the rimed-up, 3,000-foot cliffs of Mount Colonel Foster and other peaks.
North Americas major ice climbing center is the Canadian Rockies. Here are found the Canadian equivalents of the Eiger or the Matterhorn, with correspondingly more problematic faces and ridges. Summer and autumn offer innumerable couloir, gully, and face climbs of hard alpine ice. The Columbia Icefields Campground in particular, on the highway about halfway between Banff and Jasper, is adjacent to a number of excellent ice routes, from the relatively mild north faces of Athabasca and Andromeda, to the great routes of Slipstream and the Grand Central Couloir. In the harsher conditions of winter, the climbs around the Icefields take on added dimensions of difficulty and seriousness. Large frozen waterfalls form below the high peaks and are often climbable from late November through March.
Although winter temperatures in the northern Rockies can be very low (40° to 50° below zero at times) and avalanche hazard is often extremely high, some of the
world's best frozen waterfall climbing is found in these locales. The climber may develop his or her skills on such routes as Cascade Falls and Professor's Gully, then progress through Takkakkaw Falls or Bourgeau Left hand, and move on to the likes of the Terminator on Mount Rundle or Gimme Shelter on Mount Quadra. These last two are among the hardest frozen waterfalls of their length ever climbed. Hundreds of climbs have been made of all grades, but the most amazing chunks of ice on the big faces are yet to be explored.
in Quebec, the adventurous climber can find new route possibilities at Baie Eternite or the Malbaie Valley, with thousand-foot waterfall climbs such as LEquerre and La Pomme d'Or, and in Pare Jacques Cartier, where locals opt for helicopter approaches.
MAe Wets beghmtng Hw eras SMond pitch on the first ascent of Brtdalvel Falls, Colorado. (Photo: JaH Low«)
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