Due West – Kicking Horse Canyon Ice Climbing

Since we are in Lake Louise it makes sense for us to explore areas that are normally difficult to access (long drive) from Canmore.

Today we’ve chosen to go towards couple of climbs near Golden, BC. It is a very small village west of Lake Louise, but is offering some fine lines.

The morning welcomed us with a standard -14C, but as the day progressed, and we kept moving the temperature raised significantly. It must have been near 0C when we started climbing.

We made a quick pit stop at Visitor Centre in Golden and moved towards the climbs from there.

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It was a new area for us (never been there before), hence it was quite disorientating which climb is which. We ended up (as correctly suspected) on a wall with a series of lines called Kicking Horse Canyon, offering climbs in 3 to 4+ range.

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This is a road side climb, making it one of the easiest accessible climbs in the entire Rockies. Park some 1km past the climb, on the left hand side of the motorway (there is a clear pull out), and walk back, passing massive avalanche control concrete wall. Cross the road (be careful, loads of cars!), ascend small snow slope and you are there.

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Walking towards the climb. Car is park some 700m behind me. Big avy control wall to the left.

I initially picked the line left of the dirty ice in the middle, but after climbing a short while on it’s steeper part I realized my ropes were twisted, backed off a little, fixed the ropes, and opted for what seems easier (still in WI3 range) line to the left.

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Me on P1.

The whole thing was 65m long to a tree belay (I didn’t know that at the time), and when I was up some 30m, and down to 4 screws I’ve decided to build a hanging belay and bring the boys up.

By the time I brought them, the sun was roasting us (and the ice!), so PG took over and rushed to a more solid, tree belay 35m above us. We promptly followed side by side.

Pitch 3 was a massive, steep pillar. PG territory. From what I’ve seen it was quite tricky to protect, but it has never been problem before to our strongest team member.

He lead it with grace, leaving dust and flying ice chunks behind.

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PG on P3

There is a short, less steep section above the pillar, leading to another tree belay at the top. Some 40m altogether.

I followed second, with Lar going 3rd. No side by side this time.

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Me following P3.

I must say that sometimes I more enjoy seconding technically harder, physically more challenging vertical climbs, than leading on my own on relatively easier terrain. I guess that’s just how the head game works…

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Victory photo at the top.

Two quick tree abseils will take you to the base. Be careful on the second, as two 60m ropes take you there with 0m spares. The knots barely touch the ground (so make sure you have them!)

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Lar on 2nd abseil

Tomorrow we will explore some more new areas, but more about it, tomorrow 😉

PS.

I’m sorry for low resolution photos today. The wifi is pretty poor here in Lake Louise, so uploading HI-Res either fails, or just takes forever.

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