Take a bowHeading north on the Icefields Parkway, Curtain Call is a stunning formation: two wide tiers of hanging icicles, connected by a wildly featured column.
“One of the scariest looking routes around,” Joe Joesephson called it in his book "Waterfall Ice." “Not long ago, it could go several seasons without an ascent even though it forms every year. Rising standards and several years of fat ice have somewhat diminished its fearsome reputation.”
Indeed, the route looks daunting from the road. The approach gives you time to scope some possible weaknesses. The climb itself will keep you on your toes (or arms) pretty much the entire way.
Getting ThereDrive up the Icefields Parkway north of Lake Louise. About 6 k north of Tangle Creek the route will come into view on the right (east). Park next to a gated road on the right. Cross the meadow and head into the trees to the base. Less than half an hour.
Route DescriptionJoe Joe puts this as two rope stretching pitches, but I think it makes more sense to do it as three.
We climbed the right side.
P1. There’s an initial 20 meter step of 3/4ish ice that leads to a bomber cave on the right.
P2. From the belay it’s a full 60 meters to a huge cave halfway up. At 30 meters there’s another little cave if you wanted to break up the pitch. Expect sustained, steep climbing, hooking mushrooms, and having to work for gear, although you can place a lot of screws with some effort.
P3. From the big cave halfway up, it’s not quite 60 meters to the top. The pitch was the crux in March 2009. Good sticks were hard to get and protection was iffy. More heady than hard.
Descent: Rap the route. There are fixed anchors to climbers left.
Essential GearTools, ice rack. Go heavy on screws for the second pitch if you plan on stretching out the rope. Maybe snowshoes for the approach if there isn't a boot track.