What's the deal?
Strap on crampons, grab a rope and some ice axes, and climb a frozen waterfall.
Where's it at?
With its roots in 19th-century mountaineering, ice climbing has evolved considerably since the days of chopping steps to climb an icy slope. In the 1930s, Laurent Grivel designed front-pointing crampons; then in 1966, Yvon Chouinard, founder of the Patagonia clothing line, developed the first reverse-curve ice picks, which enabled climbers to grab vertical ice.
Head to Canmore, in the Alberta Rockies, to be at the centre of the ice-climbing universe today. Book a Basic Ice Climbing course by Yamnuska Mountain Adventures and learn the fundamentals of body position, equipment use and safety techniques at the beginner-friendly Junkyard ice wall near town. The next day, you'll head to one of more than 1,000 ice routes within a two-hour drive of Canmore, and climb your first frozen waterfall. More advanced climbers may want to test their mettle on the Weeping Wall, a 180-metre veil of ice considered one of the premier ice climbs in the world.
Who's it for?
Those who like winter, waterfalls and climbing.
Yamnuska's two-day Basic Ice Climbing course costs $295 (includes equipment). yamnuska.com
Quebec's Mont Tremblant offers a half-day, beginner ice-climbing course for $79. tremblant.ca
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