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Canadian Classics
by Will Gadd, photos Roger Chayer

Canada ice climbing

Will Gadd climbing Whimper Wall, WI4, Icefields Parkway, photo Roger Chayer


Before writing about ice climbing, I'd like to introduce you to Canada. We are a massive country, larger than all of Europe put together. It's over 6,000 kilometers from coast to coast, and at least that distance from the southern border to the northern islands. We speak primarily English in the west and French in the east, unless you're up north - there you'll have to get your Inuvik and other native tongues working. Yet in all this space we only have 30 million people; gas stations may be hundreds of kilometres apart in remote areas. We are generally more European than the United States; we don't generally own guns, unless we're hunting, but we do own snowmobiles and satellite phones, hockey sticks and ice skates, 4WD trucks and lots of warm clothes.

The biggest choice facing the visiting climber will be where to go; there are entire mountain ranges that have never seen ice tools! But, because I was asked to write about Classics, I will stick to my home mountain range: The Canadian Rockies

Even the Canadian Rockies ares too big of an area, so I will focus on the climbs accessible in five hours or less from the Calgary International Airport, which is probably where you will start your trip. From Calgary you can see the Rockies rising to the West, and as you drive towards them you will have to be careful to keep your eyes on the road.



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Canada ice climbing

The biggest choice facing the visiting climber will be where to go; there are entire mountain ranges that have never seen ice tools!
Canada ice climbing
Will Gadd somewhere in Canada... photo Roger Chayer
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