Marble Canyon Ice Falls

Climbing Marble Canyon Ice Falls - Kootenay National Park BC

Angelito de Jesus

4 min read

The exhilarating experience in the midst of natural wonders that left me awestruck and craving for more, I now take you on a virtual journey to Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park, BC, where I challenged my limits and conquered the majestic frozen walls through ice climbing.

A Snapshot of Marble Canyon, Kootenay National Park:

Nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Kootenay National Park boasts breathtaking landscapes and incredible natural wonders. Among its many hidden gems, Marble Canyon stands tall as a captivating destination for ice climbers of all skill levels. Its towering limestone cliffs, adorned with frozen waterfalls, provide an adrenaline-fueled playground for those seeking an adrenaline rush.

Gear Up and Be Prepared:

Before embarking on your ice climbing escapade, it's crucial to be well-prepared. Ice climbing requires a certain level of physical fitness, so make sure you're in good shape and have some prior climbing experience. While it's not necessary to be an expert, basic knowledge of climbing techniques and safety precautions will definitely come in handy.

Ensure you have the essentials like crampons, ice axes, a helmet, harness, and appropriate clothing that will keep you warm and dry.

Safety First, Always:

Ice climbing may sound like an extreme sport, but with the right precautions, it can be a safe and enjoyable activity. Whether you are a seasoned climber or a newbie, it's advisable to have a professional guide or join a climbing group to ensure your safety. Our guides are a well renowned and prominent figures in the climbing community – Will Gadd and Sarah Hueniken, they provided us invaluable guidance and taught us many necessary techniques such as proper body positioning and using climbing tools effectively. I learned rock wall climbing using dry tool techniques on ice-free walls with the same tools used in ice climbing. Our climbing group - K8 Mountaineering Club of Alberta - a group of passionate climbers involved in various mountaineering activities provided climbing gears for those that didn't have any.

The Thrill of the Climb:

As you approach the towering frozen walls extra care is required navigating through log poles and partially frozen rushing river. The ice falls are only accessible in winter. A mixture of excitement and nervousness fills the air. As you make your way up the ice walls of Marble Canyon, you'll be enchanted by the beauty and intricacy of the frozen formations surrounding you. I need to keep my camera on hand at all times despite the cold temperature nipping on my hand.

The adrenaline rush that comes with conquering each pitch is truly unparalleled. Whether you're a beginner trying your hand at your first frozen ascent or an experienced climber looking to push your limits, Marble Canyon offers a variety of routes suitable for all levels. From easy, low-angle ice to more challenging vertical walls, there's something for everyone.

We had eight ropes set up in total. Alternating climber and a belayer was very fulfilling, with each swing of your ice axe, you ascend higher, intuitively finding your footing in this icy playground giving you a great sense of accomplishment.

Reaching the top of an ice wall is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Aside from the breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, you'll experience a profound sense of achievement that empowers you both physically and mentally. The satisfaction that comes from overcoming your fears and pushing your boundaries is truly indescribable.

My ice climbing adventure at Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park was an experience like no other. The combination of stunning natural beauty, an adrenaline-fueled challenge, and the sense of accomplishment made it an unforgettable journey.

If you have a thirst for adventure and a desire to push your limits, ice climbing in Marble Canyon is an excellent choice.

Summing it all up

Ice climbing at Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park offers an exhilarating experience that combines physical challenge, natural beauty, and a touch of adrenaline. Whether you're a seasoned climber or a newbie looking to try something new, this frozen playground will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. So, gather your gear, summon your courage, and get ready to conquer the frozen heights of Marble Canyon.

As with any outdoor adventure, it's important to be mindful of the environment. Kootenay National Park is a protected area, and it's our responsibility to respect and preserve its natural beauty. Always follow the Leave No Trace principles, leave the climbing routes undisturbed, and be aware of any local regulations.

Will Gadd hard at work as our lead climber setting up the ropes

Visit Marble Canyon Photo Gallery to view more photo coverage