Avalanche Conditions

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Good information on traveling safely in the Canadian backcountry.

Ice Encyclopedia
Nice site providing route descriptions and photos for ice climbs in Alberta and BC.

Canmore Guide
Where to stay, eat, etc.

Rockies Climbing Cycle
Ice Season Progression--how to plan a trip to the Rockies.
The old Gravsports Ice Page--lots of info on past years, etc.

Mountain Conditions Reports, good resource from guides in the area.

Climbers' access group, worth supporting.

Local org that replaces sketchy old anchors and crappy bolts. Give them money.

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#19284 - 12/17/17 12:23 AM Extra Lite
Grant P Offline

WI 10

Registered: 11/10/07
Posts: 1041
Loc: Calgary

Parked at the chain up area on Hwy 1 near the end by the garbage bin. Crossed the Kicking Horse River by way of ice bridges and headed towards the slope below the climb. The steep slope to the rail line kinda sucks but its short.

First pitch is in good shape although there was a degree of cold and brittle. There is a great ledge at the halfway if you want to break it into 2 x 30m pitches or you can do it as a longer 55m -ish pitch.
After this there is a LOT of lower angle steps and walking. Some of the ice is decent, some is lesser quality, and in a few places the snow which is 2-3" deep does a good job of hiding rock on the occasional swing.

As we got to the upper reaches we reached a buttress that kinda hides the route around the bend until you get there. Just below this step there is a little avi debris that looks somewhat old. Then the step is a mix of wet and brittle. Above the step is some more avi debris and what looks like more of a walk than any climbing. In the distance there is a final pitch of pretty steep ice that only looked partly formed. At this point we chose to turn around rather than slog up to potentially questionable ice.

We descended by way of v-threads, ice pillars, no threads, and downclimbing.

Quick question: To get to Cool Spring, is it better to approach Extra Lite, then traverse below the rock band to the right. Or is better to approach direct from the train tracks straight up and separately?

#19298 - 12/21/17 11:14 PM Re: Extra Lite [Re: Grant P]
e.semenuik Offline

Registered: 11/11/12
Posts: 29
Loc: calgary
i've never climbed ExtraLite and glad you posted. I have climbed cool spring many years ago and loved it. We essentially parked in town and walked along the tracks. can we still walk along the tracks cause i think that's the way to do it?

#19299 - 12/22/17 12:27 AM Re: Extra Lite [Re: Grant P]
Grant P Offline

WI 10

Registered: 11/10/07
Posts: 1041
Loc: Calgary
It's much shorter to park at the chain up parking area and cross the river when frozen. Technically walking along or crossing the rail tracks is said to be trespassing although if that's true then its also true that staying clear of the tracks and avoiding tripping any avi detection fencing will result in the turning of a blind eye. It's quite a ways from town and when we were there, there were a lot of trains passing throughout the day. Probably means you'd encounter a train or two walking from town.

My above question refers to the approach description of a right and left cleft in a rock buttress. We could only see the cleft with Ex.Lite but from the river it looked like approaching Cool Spring might be either a bushwhack rightwards below the rock wall, or alternately involve leaving the rail tracks below Cool Spring and up a different Gully. Both would still be shorter crossing the river rather than from town. Curiosity got me wondering.

FWIW with the recent snowfall, anyone considering Ex.Lite should give plenty of consideration to the avi hazard now too.


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