Updated: Apr 8, 2019
In this video, I finally get around to my first ice-climbing adventure. My friend, Lorne, who owns the Base Camp 35 Guiding Service, guides my wife, Deena, and I as we climb a frozen waterfall. The experience was amazing and I only wish I had done it earlier.
We met up in the parking lot of the Ox-Narrows Restaurant & Lodge to get geared up. Lorne provided all of the gear - harnesses, boots, helmets, ice-axes, etc. Right off, I noticed the Ice-climbing boots were a cross between a ski boot and a hiking boot. After we got the gear on, we loaded up the climbing gear on ice sleds and trekked to location.
Before we could start climbing, there were a few things to tidy up; Lorne hiked to the top of the waterfall to secure ropes and anchors, so we could safely climb up to the top. Safety was our number one priority.
Next we had to learn how to swing the ice axe; apparently, there is a technique to that. With every swing, you hold the axe in line with your shoulder, so that when you swing back, your elbow comes all the way to your ear. If you swing from the wrist or elbow, you will get tired quickly.
After we got our axes buried nice and deep, Lorne showed us how to climb; kick in with your toes, the tip of your boot pointing up and your heels dropping down. To make it easier, lean back a bit on the axe before you kick.
When you have your feet in place, repeat the axe routine. The motion should go be something like; pick, kick, kick...pick, kick, kick.
The first climb
First up is Deena, after Lorne shows her how to tie a constrictor knot. Just to make sure she does not freak out halfway to the top, he gets her to climb a few feet first to check out her stance and let her test out the rope and harness. After that, she is good to go. I fly the drone and video her climb; Deena makes it look so easy - she has a nice natural flow to her movements that it is hard to believe this is her first ice-climb.
Then it was my turn. After some starting lessons from Lorne on how to place my foot correctly and balance my weight out, I was off. I got to the top without any real difficulties; and with some help from Lorne, I was back on the ground, quick and easy. My second climb was much higher and tougher too. Pity there are no pictures to show you guys...Deena was supposed to get those, but she got carried away taking selfies! The best part of the climb was the view from the top - seeing the world from the edge of a frozen waterfall? How awesome is that!!!
I honestly do not know why I did not do this earlier. I know it can feel intimidating when you are looking up at that forty foot wall of ice but with a good guide, like Lorne, it is really not that hard. If Deena and I could do it, you guys can.
You guys check Lorne out at http://www.basecamp35.com/