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Ice Climbing

Ice climbing in Waterton Park, Alberta. In the winter, people travel from all over North America to Waterton Lakes National Park for its unique ice climbing experiences. Frozen waterfalls and snow-covered rock faces range in difficulty, providing ice-climbers of all skill levels something to look forward to!

Ice Climbing Information

Generally in ice climbing, all climbs are rated on the following scale:

  • WI 1 - Easy walk. The only equipment you'll need is crampons.
  • WI 2 - A steep walk. Tools will help.
  • WI 3 - Some sections of steep ice. You may encounter some vertical ice, but generally only a few feet at a time. You'll need crampons and two hand tools.
  • WI 4 - Continuous sections of steep ice, with rests only on stances in between. You'll need a rope.
  • WI 5 - Vertical ice with very few rest stances. To place protection, you'll usually have to hang off tools or the rope.
  • WI 6 - Overhanging ice, or rotten vertical ice with only sparse protection.

Things to Do Before You Ice Climb

  • Ice Climbing is a potentially hazardous activity. The experts agree training is essential. before trying to tackle a real ice climb, contact climbing clubs local to your area so you can learn the basic precautions, skills, and techniques necessary for this exciting activity.
  • Check with park staff on best locations, weather and avalanche conditions. A Park Use Permit is required for all overnight use and is available at the Warden Office. Please see Hazardous activity registration.
  • Park staff and locals can also be valuable resources in determining where the best ice climbing locations are.
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