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March Ice Climbing Trip to Waterton

March 10, 2023 - March 13, 2023


Ice Climbing is rad: it’s fundamentally simple but devilishly tricky. Not only does it engage your physical fitness, requiring you to tramp through snow uphill both ways, but it engages your mental fitness as well. Having to pay attention to what’s going on around you creates a visceral feeling of adventure and brings many skills together in one awesome climbing medium. Climbing frozen waterfalls is just so awesome – it’s the ultimate choose your own adventure, and there is something for everyone.


  • 9 people (2-3 leaders, 6-7 participants)

Climber Prerequisite:

  • Familiarity with avalanche procedures (will go over a refresher outdoors prior to trip)
  • Be able to bear (maybe even enjoy) the outdoors in winter
  • No prior experience is needed, as we’ll be top roping.
  • Perseverance and a positive attitude (there is some grunt to approach the ice climbs)


  • Helmet
  • Harness
  • Rigid mountaineering boots (B2 or B3 boot) with heel/toe welts preferred. Trip leader is trying to source a rental from the UofC, so let him know if you need a pair and indicate size.
  • Belay device (e.g. ATC, GriGri, Reverso)
  • Crampons with vertical front points preferred*
  • Ice axes x 2*
  • 3 locking carabiners
  • 2 double length slings (120 cm)
  • 35 L or larger backpack (big enough to hold extra clothes and creature comforts)
  • 2 or more pairs of gloves: a thinner more dextrous glove for climbing, and a thicker/warmer dextrous glove for belaying
  • Warm belay jacket to wear while belaying single pitch
  • Small, non-leaking thermos for hot drink/soup during the climbing day
  • Avalanche kit (beacon/shovel/probe)*
  • Your own personal clothing system to stay warm (ski pants are ok, but we’ll need to tighten up the lower calves/ankles with tape or snug gaitors)

Group Gear will be organized by trip leader with the ACC great plains gear cache.

*available to borrow from gear cache

Transport:  We’ll carpool where possible. Distance is roughly 750 km one way. We’ll sort out car logistics closer to the date.

Accommodation:  The Crandell Mountain Lodge. They have been very good to ice climbers in the past and we have received 15% discount on our bookings as long as we take at least five rooms. With current rates, it looks like it may be about $50 per night.  If we don’t luck out with everyone having a kitchenette, we can agree to make one a common kitchen. Bookings will need to be directly with the lodge. We’ll solidify the bookings in mid-February. Visit to learn more.

Food: You are responsible for organizing your own food. Waterton is quiet during the winter, so you will need to arrive with enough food for the weekend or be prepared to eat in the restaurant every day. Most of the rooms have kitchenettes, and we’d need to specify this upon booking.

Weather: March in Waterton is still winter, but transitioning into spring. We’ll have longer daylight, and more comfortable temperatures than mid-winter. The ice is usually friendlier too: when ice is really cold, it is hard and brittle, but when it is around the 0C mark, it is “hero” ice, which makes it much easier to climb. Daytime highs average around low single digits, and overnights are below freezing….ideal for ice.

Trip Sign-up Information: If interested in the trip, please send the following sign-up information to James Lewis at

  1. First and last name
  2. Phone number
  3. ACC membership number (must be registered with the Great Plains Section)
  4. Emergency contact information
  5. Rock/ice climbing experience (the grade that you can reliably top rope and short summary if you have outdoor experience)
  6. Any gear you would like to borrow (helmet, harness, etc.)

Please send any questions on the trip to James. Further trip details will be circulated once participants are confirmed.


March 10, 2023
March 13, 2023
Event Category:


Waterton Lakes National Park
Alberta Canada + Google Map
View Venue Website

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Trip Info & Guidelines

Guidelines For Trip Participants

All trips listed in the Great Plains Section’s trip schedule are coordinated by amateur volunteer hikers, skiers and climbers. When on a trip, participants must act in a manner that is safe and responsible and participants are expected to bring the equipment requested by the trip organizer. Participants should find out the requirements and demands of the trip well in advance by asking the organizer and researching the trip in guidebooks and other literature. You must be a member of the Great Plains Section of the Alpine Club of Canada to join a trip.

Further guidelines for participants
  • Be prepared to complete a Release of Liability (Waiver). Waiver Form
  • You must be a member of the Great Plains Section of the Alpine Club of Canada to join a trip.
  • Sign up for trips that will challenge you, but are not beyond your abilities. If unsure, ask the trip organizer and tell them your experience and fitness level. People inexperienced in the mountains should start with easier trips.
  • Learn about the trip before you attend (which route, number of kilometers, amount of vertical gain/loss, type of terrain, length of day, etc.).
  • Give as much notice as possible to the trip organizer if you are unable to go on the trip. There are often waiting lists of other members who would like to go. If you do not provide enough notice of cancellation for your spot to be filled, your trip deposit will not be refunded.
  • Ensure that you have the right equipment and that it is in good repair.
  • For winter trips, ensure that you are using a digital avalanche transceiver and that it is in good working order. Single antenna/analog transceivers are not acceptable.
  • Bring your helmet on all moderate and difficult scrambles and all climbing trips. Leaders may ask you to bring your helmet on certain ski trips as well.
  • Be prepared to contribute to the trip and carry part of the group gear (ropes, etc.).
Personal Insurance
In addition to the liability coverage that the ACC provides for its members when they are participating in ACC activities, the ACC sells, through TuGoTM Travel Insurance, personal insurance for trips.

As a broker for TuGo, the ACC offers Emergency Medical Insurance, Trip Cancellation Insurance, Baggage Insurance and more. These policies are available to all Canadians travelling outside their home province within Canada as well as internationally.

If you require medical attention while you’re traveling outside of your home province, or outside of Canada, your provincial health care plan may not cover you. The ACC’s trip insurance covers air ambulance, emergency medical and many other medical expenses. Climbing, skiing and other backcountry accidents are not exempted (as they are with many insurers).

For more information and online quotes, click here.

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