Marble Canyon – Ice climbing
Last Friday we went to this amazing place called Marble canyon. Marble canyon is in Yoho national park and is famous tourist attraction for its landscape scenery and canyon features. The original plan was to go to Hafner Ceek but since we´d already been there we headed for Marble Canyon instead. Kind of a roadside climbing, you just have to walk for about 10min and you are there. Ási´s collar bone is still hurting so no climbing for him, he tagged along to take pictures and videos.
To get to the climbing you put up a belay at the top and rappel down in the canyon…so make sure that you can climb back up again. The river at the bottom was partly frozen and you could easily walk there but you had to be careful because sometimes the river came through, ice was sometimes thin and the river quite deep in some places.
The first route we climbed is called the Tokkume Pole WI5+ 40m. It´s a really cool line going up thin overhanging ice, hoocking some eyebrows on the overhanging rock and then move onto this huge free hanging pillar. The Ice was rather technical and a lot of icicles made it tricky to protect. Finally at the top, and Danni followed like there was no tomorrow. Great route and the weather wasn´t spoiling it: Sunshine, clear sky and no wind…although we didn´t get much sunlight down in the canyon. The canyon is so narrow that you can touch wall to wall in some places.
Lunch brake at the top…but wait, where is Ási ? We heard weak scream from the bottom of the canyon: “Hey guise, can you throw down a sandwich ?”. Ahh, of course…he´s still down there so we threw down his sandwich, tanned a little bit in the sun and then rappelled down to join Ási again, poor boy.
The next project looked interesting. It was a large 10m free hanging pillar with obvious fracture line at the top. I took a look at it, was thinking of my weight vs mass of ice ratio and I wasn´too sure. After pressing the “off” button of my thoughts I tied the rope to me, took deep breath and started the climb. There was no way I´m going to put ice screws in that thing, I thought, so I started the climbing. When I fist touched the big dildo I felt it vibrating like hell, scary I though so I switched to ballet. Hooking the ice and tapping with my wrist, stepping gently down like a butterfly and pressing the crampon points into the ice. About 10-12m up the ice was solid enough for a secure ice screw and I put one in to ease the atmosphere. Since I was past the free hanging stuff I could start to hammer the ice like real ice climber, not dancing ballet like a frikin fairy.
The rest of the route was good ice up to a BIG stone that was jammed between the canyon walls. Traversing past that and up to some weird snow that was followed by a snow ledge up to the top, 30m in total. I started hammering the ice and the pick just wouldn´t stick. It was like hitting concrete you just can´t.
Up we were again and Ási did a really good job as the designated photo/videoist. But wait, where is Ási…20min later he was up, sweaty as hell after jumaring all the 40m up to the top in his down jacket. When were leaving the canyon he could not find his video camera. His pocket apparently was open while going up so there was only one thing to do: I rappelled down the big free hanging dildo again, got the camera and climbed up again. Really good day and we had a safe drive back home for beer.
Best wishes to Iceland,