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Ice Season Progression--how to plan a trip to the Rockies.
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#8237 - 12/31/10 01:02 PM Close Call in Johnston, watch out for hanging ice!
iceadmin/Will Gadd Offline

Registered: 11/01/07
Posts: 381
There was a close call in Johnston Canyon a couple of days ago. Guy broke a big pillar off, the ice hit another party that was belaying nearby, chaos in general but luckily no serious injuries. But with a little bit of the other kind of luck it could have been a fatality.

I often see people wandering around under free-hanging features with climbers on 'em. It's easy to get complacent and think it's all good 'cause someone has done it once already, but these things are fundamentally unpredictable. If one of the big features at Haffner, Louise, Johnston or another popular goes it would often destroy people. The weight and power of falling ice is just mind-blowing when experienced on a personal level, it's like we're climbing hunks of hanging cement that could unpredictably fall...

In general I'd assume the worst about free-hanging ice, especially with a person on it. I've had three features rip this season already, and each time I was being "paranoid" about the rigging... The guy who ripped the ice in Johnston canyon is seriously shaken up by the fact that he could have killed one and maybe two people if it had been just a little bit different. He is an experienced climber, and is looking at things differently now.

I'm not trying to lecture anyone, just share some info. Let's look out for each other in the crowded areas too, I forget where I am sometimes, feel free to point out when I'm walking somewhere dangerous, I'd appreciate it, life is good!

-Will Gadd

Edited by iceadmin (12/31/10 01:04 PM)

#8242 - 12/31/10 06:46 PM Re: Close Call in Johnston, watch out for hanging ice! [Re: iceadmin/Will Gadd]
Grant P Offline

WI 10

Registered: 11/10/07
Posts: 1041
Loc: Calgary
A good example of the positive power of negative thinking isn't it Will. I heard about the Bozeman ride but it sounds like that negativity is working overtime for you - glad to hear it.

#8243 - 12/31/10 06:59 PM Re: Close Call in Johnston, watch out for hanging ice! [Re: iceadmin/Will Gadd]
GoldenMike Offline

Registered: 12/01/08
Posts: 82
Loc: Golden, BC
Here here!. I was at Haffner on Dec 29th. It was a crowded day with 23 people hanging around the main area. A fellow was climbing one of the mixed climbs nearer the start of the area. He decided to clean a bit of the icicles above him. Well he did that for sure. An unexpectedly larger portion came off above him. He had alerted people on the ground prior to cleaning. Good thing too. A TV sized chunk let loose and hit the ground with devastating force. Easily enough to severely injured someone or worse. It was a close call for the climber as well. Along with the large chunk, an upper icicle let loose as well, the climber ducked it...mostly. He lowered off with about a 6-10 pound icicle pierced half way through his hood on his jacket. Very erie.
Thanks for the post. It seems it is easier to become complacent at cragging areas. It is a good reminder to keep your head up no matter the arena. Cheers

#8247 - 01/01/11 12:45 AM Re: Close Call in Johnston, watch out for hanging ice! [Re: GoldenMike]
cmagee Offline

Registered: 12/19/10
Posts: 92
Loc: banff
johnson canyon is dangerous for the tourists they're quick to duck the handrail. six times i told people to stay clear as the falling (dinner plating) ice will hit them. the seventh was magic got him right in the head.

"pleasure is held in the genocide of idiots"

#8295 - 01/03/11 09:09 AM Re: Close Call in Johnston, watch out for hanging ice! [Re: iceadmin/Will Gadd]
Greg Offline

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 188
I always wondered why people have such a adamant problem with choss, it's the same thing as ice just not so cold when it hits you, but for soem reason it is OK to climb on loose stuff in winter!! hahaha laugh

#8315 - 01/04/11 08:29 AM Re: Close Call in Johnston, watch out for hanging ice! [Re: iceadmin/Will Gadd]
c.meginbir Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 70
Loc: Calgary
That's crazy! I'm glad that luck was on everyone's side that day. I've often wondered about the daggers at louise, they look really intimidating, and was quite windy last time I was there...

I had experienced a similar episode at bear spirit a few years ago. A friend was trying his hand at No Love (first mixed line to the right of the main flow) and decided to ignore warnings that steming low on a big dagger is a dangerous idea. Luckily he was on TR, as the entire pillar snapped near the top and it swung top down in a horizontal fashion landing square on his back. Since the rock is slightly overhanging there, it afforded his body to swing away from the 12 ft long daggar and it rolled off of him to the side. He got away simply short of breath and a bit of a sore back. Could have gone terribly wrong, but luck was with us that day as well.
Roast Master and Owner of Devil's Head Coffee

#8324 - 01/04/11 07:23 PM Re: Close Call in Johnston, watch out for hanging ice! [Re: c.meginbir]
cmagee Offline

Registered: 12/19/10
Posts: 92
Loc: banff

close call.

i've seen an axe shaft broken by falling ice.


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