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Pioneers of Waterfall Ice Climbing

Author(s): WhyteMuseum
Video Release Date: January 8, 2023
Video Source: YouTube

This film tells the story of the development of the sport of waterfall ice climbing during the 1970s, 80s and 90s and celebrates the pioneers of this activity. The Canadian Rockies are endowed with three things that make for great waterfall ice climbing — big cliffs, lots of water and cold temperatures in winter. Consequently, there are lots of frozen waterfalls which are perfect for ice climbers. And Canmore and the Bow Valley are the centre for this sport. During the 70s, the new sport of waterfall ice climbing was born. Scottish mountaineer Hamish McInnes invented a new type of ice axe with a steeply drooping pick that allowed climbers to hook into steep ice and pull themselves up. He called this new ice axe the Terradactyl, revolutionizing how mountaineers climb ice. It was now possible to climb even the steepest frozen waterfalls. In this film by Glen Crawford with interview film footage from Chic Scott, Rob Wood, Jack Firth, Laurie Skreslet, Jeff Marshall, Guy Lacelle, Bruce Hendricks and Joe Josephson tell epic stories of their pioneering waterfall ice climbs. Enhanced with historical photographs and linked with explanatory narration, the development of this sport, which is now popular all around the world, is explained. As well as telling the stories of their historic ascents, these climbers speak of their passion and love for the sport. Filmed 25 years ago, this film shows them in their prime. This film is part of the Pushing the Limits: The Legacy project, generously supported by Dr. Bill Hanlon and Lake Louise Ski Resort.

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