Posted Jan 26, 2012
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            Ice Climbing in Mable Canyon Provincial Park BC. It's 5pm and we're...
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            Ice Climbing in Mable Canyon Provincial Park BC.  
            
            It's 5pm and we're leaving Vancouver in a rain storm. Rain is coming down in sheets and it's almost impossible to see the road, I'm starting to wonder if we're ever going to make it to Lillooet for our weekend of ice climbing.  By the time we hit Whistler we've already been on the road for over 3 hours and the roads are icy as hell.  A quick stop at Subway to fuel up and the weather report says that there is a snow warning right where we are headed.  Why are we doing this again?
            
            Marble Canyon is a great place to try out ice climbing, well at least according to my friends who are dragging me up there. This would be my first time ice climbing and I had no idea what I'm doing, nor did I know how bloody expensive this sport is.  Having the basic climbing gear has helped: harness, belay device, helmet and a triple dry treated rope.  However, unlike good ol' sport climbing, ice climbing requires that you stock up on gear like you're a millionaire in a whore house.  Mountaineering boots, crampons,  ice axes, ice screws are just some of the pricey equipment you'll need to get up a frozen waterfall. Oh did I forget to mention a little bit of crazy?  
            
            Back on the road we hit up Pemberton and watch the traffic melt away. However, we weren't prepared for the crux of the adventure, the Duffy Lake road connecting Pemberton to Lillooet, where we're confronted with a steep switch backing road up the mountain that was covered with 8 inches of fresh snow sans tire tracks.  Great, so we're the first ones up the road.  As we started up I couldn't help but think that this road looked more like a ski hill than an actual road.  Three and a half hours later we arrive in Lillooet with frayed nerves and the biggest craving for a beer.  
            
            The next day it's off to the crag, 30 min of driving farther north we set our sights on Marble Canyon.  I've been told that there is a number of frozen waterfalls in the area that are less than a 10 min stroll from the highway.  This appealed much to my lazy sport climbing inner core.  A quick check of our gear and we're off across a frozen lake past ice fishermen to the crag.   Yes that's right there was people fishing through holes in the ice, I had no idea people actually did that.
            
            My first impression of the crag was, WOW!  The ice towered over us at 35 to 40m and solidly covered then entire crag.  Untouched and pristine there wasn't another climber in sight; I guess our drive through the snow storm was worth it!  
            
            After getting the more experienced ice climbers to setup a few top-ropes, which I relished being a newbie and not having to do, we embarked on the climbs.  Little did I know that my first ice climbing experience would be on a WI4, which I was told was the equivalent of a 5.11 rock climb.  After much swearing I finished all I could do of the route before I completely lost all feeling of my hands.  Looking down I realized that I had covered all of 5m of the entire 35m pitch.  On the short lower down to the ground I was blissfully unaware of the pain I would feel  once the ice axes were pried from my frozen hands.   This is what I do for fun?
            
            Back in Lillooet that night we fuel up on Greek food and beer, hoping to store up some energy for another day of climbing.  Later that night, after a few beers, I started to wish that warmer weather would move in and make the ice un-climbable; all so I can spare myself from having to grab those ice axes again.  Strangely though, by the next morning I was excited to get back out on the ice, and on the drive back to the crag I found myself day dreaming of the ice axes that I would buy when I got back home.  That's when I realized that I was hooked. 
            
            After a fun filled day of climbing thin ice, thick ice, being soaked by water flowing over the ice and dry tooling we headed back to Vancouver content and already planning the next trip back to Marble Canyon.