As the plane taxied toward the terminal at Calgary the pilot happily announced that the temperature outside was minus sixteen degrees Celsius.
“That’s doable,” I thought. I did have a vague recollection of someone saying that it could get really cold and it can screw up the climbing. Well it did and it did.
Is minus 33 degrees cold enough? It was for us and believe me it makes for hard days and a serious risk of frostbite and if you are really unlucky Death. In a three week period we experienced everything from extreme cold to a thaw at plus 18 degrees C and very high avalanche hazard on all slope aspects.
We did see some superb ice climbs, we even managed to climb some of them but all in all it was a very frustrating and expensive trip.
Even taking into account the Post Brexit devaluation of the pound Canada, or at least Canmore and Banff, were expensive.
$18 for a burger, surely not? well that is the average and don’t expect anything memorable. Mid priced eateries in this part of Canada seem to have followed the American model of serving total crap, in every respect, and pretending it is food.
What’s the Climbing Like?
The routes we did climb were sensational and the ones we stood at the bottom of while they melted over us were quite impressive too.
Without a doubt the Grades are a bit stiff. A 3/4 here would be a five in Scotland and a 4 in the Alps. The grade fives here are the real deal, unremittingly vertical for long distances with no easy rests.
Expect to do a lot of driving as many of the best routes are a long way from accommodation.
This is an excellent article which gives far more information. https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=8836