Murchison Falls

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Murchison Falls ice climb, upper pitches click to enlarge…

Upper pitches of Murchison Falls. The short icy crack to the right of the main flow has also been climbed at about M5.

Grade & Length: IV, WI4+, 200m

Approach: If coming from Lake Louise, drive North along the Icefeilds Parkway for about 45 minutes to the last drainage before a double roadcut which marks the start of a long hill down to the Saskatchewan River Crossing. If it is your first time here, it is easiest to just drive to the roadcut then turn around and drive back to the drainage. Park on the side of the road. The top of the climb is visible from the road and if you will be starting in the dark it is recommended to scout it out the day before.

Hike up the drainage for a couple minutes, then move into the trees on the left side and continue uphill for about an hour until the climbs come into view. Continue up low angle open slopes to the route. About 1.5 hrs total.

Route Description: A great route with awesome views! It usually makes for a long day out in the mountains, although it has been soloed in just over 3 hours round trip from the road.

Climb a short WI2 pitch and some snow to the start of the route proper. The line taken from here will depend upon what is dry and where protected belays can be found. Most lines are about WI4, with the last or second last pitch being the hardest. A WI5+ finish can also be climbed on the left. At the top, there is a bolted belay on a ledge out right (one of the bolts could use replacing).

Murchison Falls area ice climbs. click to enlarge…

Murchison Falls and some of the harder routes around it, including But My Daddy’s a Psycho. Virtual Reality (WI6, unformed) and Lessons of Oka.

Descent: Rappel the route using V-threads & bolted anchors.

Gear: Screws. Two ropes recommended for the descent.

Objective Hazards: During times of high hazard there is some avalanche hazard on the final part of the approach, but none from above the route. The wind often forms overhanging snow & ice features on top which can collapse, particularly on sunny days.

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