Banff’s Whitney Wilson, a first time ice climber, makes short work of her time at Canmore's Junkyard
CANMORE, AB – Hanging off the side of a frozen waterfall by only an ice axe and thin metal boot picks is a thought most of us might not relish. But if you're feeling the need for adventure, an ice climbing tour with Yamnuska Mountain Adventures in Canmore, Alberta might be just what the doctor ordered.
“Man, what a rush,” said Anna Berger as she came off the ice for the first time. While we were filming a recent episode of The Snow Show, our director of photography, Brandon Boucher, and I ran into Berger, who was fresh off the plane from Sydney, Australia to experience her first time in the Rockies. “I am here to try everything – from skiing to dogsledding – and thought that an ice climbing experience was something that was perfect for me to get into.”
For her first time on ice, Berger nailed it. She scampered up there like a salmon swimming upstream. “I can’t believe how quickly you can pick this up. Anyone could do it.”
It didn’t take long for myself, and climbing partner Whitney Wilson, to jump in the harness and on belay. And in addition to the ice axe and the crampons, you are tied up to your guide, who makes sure that, should you slip, he or she has your back and the belay will ensure you're not plummeting back to Earth.
Within minutes from downtown Canmore, the Junkyard hosts a solid five to six pitches, which means dozens of routes to choose from for any level of climber. It's the perfect spot to learn. Yamnuska’s Basic Ice Climbing session is about a three hour adventure and no past experience is required.
If you are looking for a real workout after challenging the upper body at the Junkyard, on your way back into town hit up the Canmore Nordic centre to really stretch your legs.
For more on climbing in Canmore or Yamnuska’s other winter adventures, consult their website.
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