Jasper National Park, AB

Though we filled most of our days in Jasper National Park with hiking, we did sign up for one big ticket item – ice climbing!!! That’s right, Ellen and I went ice climbing in Maligne Canyon and it was hands down one of the coolest, most bad-ass things I’ve ever done (sky diving is a close second!).

Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon | A Taste of Trace
Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon | A Taste of Trace
We first met at our tour company’s office to get fitted for ice climbing boots, crampons, harnesses, and helmets. With our gear in tow, we headed out to Maligne Canyon. Maligne Canyon is ~50m deep (160ft) with water flowing up to 15km/hr in the warmer months. In wintertime, this water freezes along with giant walls of ice creating the perfect location for ice climbing!

Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon | A Taste of Trace

Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon

Our guide, Ben led us off the trail to the top of an aforementioned ice wall. Here he knotted ropes around a tree to create anchors. Once this was done, we hiked down into the canyon and got a demo from Ben for how to climb. Spoiler alert: it’s actually not that complicated to ice climb. Just a teensy more technical than climbing a ladder!

Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon | A Taste of Trace
Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon | A Taste of Trace
Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon | A Taste of Trace

After the lesson, we were all set to go. Ellen and I climbed side-by-side on each of the two ropes and it was such a fun experience. We even got pretty high up! (This was fully realised on the awkward repel down the ice wall when my ice axes and crampons seemed to get stuck every meter!).

Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon | A Taste of Trace
Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon | A Taste of Trace
Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon | A Taste of Trace

After everyone in our group had a few turns climbing we decided to start the long journey out of the canyon. We exited the opposite way that we entered, & there were a few more obstacles we had to tackle. Literally! A 4-5m ice wall had to be climbed, and it was only once we got to the top that we saw there was a second ice wall! It’s a good thing we had so much practice.

Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon | A Taste of Trace
Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon | A Taste of Trace
With those climbs out of the way, we were all clear to stick to the paths leading out of the canyon. We were rewarded with some pretty stellar mountain views too.

Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon | A Taste of Trace

Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon | A Taste of Trace

Ice climbing in Maligne Canyon was such an incredible experience and one I’d highly recommend to anyone visiting the area. Would-be ice climbers only need a basic level of fitness; no prior climbing experience (ice or rock) is needed.

Practical Information

We booked our tour through Rockaboo Mountain Adventures. We paid $225(+tax) per person. This included all gear (helmet, ice climbing boots, crampons, harnesses) as well as a fully qualified guide and other ice climbing paraphernalia – ropes, ice axes etc). We arrived at Maligne Canyon around 11am and left at 4pm. Lunch is not provided.

Ice Climbing in Maligne Canyon | A Taste of Trace


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