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Waterfall climbing

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Waterfall climbing

Postby NW » Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:40 pm

Does or has anyone here climbed waterfalls? I'm taking an ice course this winter and the spot they usually use is a waterfall (see pic below in summer). Just looking for any interesting stories or facts about climbing these specifically.

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Re: Waterfall climbing

Postby John Duffield » Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:53 pm

I like it. Frozen or non. The water splashing over me in warmer temps. Sometimes, heavy vegetation or other impediments forces the choice to climb the waterfall. Slippery though. I think nearly all ice climbing, par se, is up frozen waterfalls. Often you'll have your face inches away from the ice watching the water surge through it as you go up. I find the water very relaxing.

Of course, everything depends on temperature. Why a lot of people like ice climbing in Canada and other really cold places. There isn't the unknown about whether the ice "is in" as you see further south. In Canada, in the winter, the ice is nearly always "in".
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Re: Waterfall climbing

Postby NW » Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:28 pm

With a waterfall like this do you think the ice is more likely to let go when it's struck with climbing tools? I mean as opposed to a more substantial falls coming down off a mountain. This is more a stream in the woods that drops off 60 feet. This is no Valdez, Alaska that's for sure!
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Re: Waterfall climbing

Postby John Duffield » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:10 pm

I guess that depends on the source. A lake? A spring? Does the source also freeze? Also how quickly it gets cold. Even though that's a stream in the woods, it's not the water coming over it in a given minute but an accumulation over time.

Given 60 feet, it would be about the perfect height to TR and run a class. They probably have an interesting approach to go with it. Maybe even walking across a frozen lake. A glissade here and there. Yummy.

As far as letting go when struck with tools, that would be a factor of temperature. The kinds of temps you get in Canada (I go 2 - 3 times a year) would mean pretty solid ice. Probably not the chandelier crap we often get here in NY.
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Re: Waterfall climbing

Postby NW » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:34 pm

Cool thanks. Yea it's actually an old Maliseet Indian trail through the woods. Takes about 45 minutes to get there from the car in the summer, nice trail through dense forest. I'm sure it will look great in the winter. I've always meant to go there in the winter but have always got distracted by the time everything good and frozen. Not this year! I'm not sure where the water comes from though, most likely a spring. There's no lakes anywhere close but springs are pretty common in the area.
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Re: Waterfall climbing

Postby Rob » Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:29 pm

Bear grylls climbs 'em wet.
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Re: Waterfall climbing

Postby butitsadryheat » Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:55 pm

how could one 'destroy' an ice waterfall? it's frozen water
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Re: Waterfall climbing

Postby NW » Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:09 pm

I watched that Bear Gryllis show once, and only in part and thought he was teaching people how to die in the wilderness lol. But maybe I saw a bad episode...
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Re: Waterfall climbing

Postby Steve Larson » Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:30 am

NW wrote:With a waterfall like this do you think the ice is more likely to let go when it's struck with climbing tools? I mean as opposed to a more substantial falls coming down off a mountain. This is more a stream in the woods that drops off 60 feet. This is no Valdez, Alaska that's for sure!


Climbing frozen waterfalls is done all the time. It doesn't really matter what the source is as far as stability goes. What does matter is thickness of the ice, how well it's bonded to the underlying rock, temperature, recent temperature changes, the integrity of the ice as it formed--stuff along those lines. If your class is taught by competent guides, I think you can rest assured they won't be conducting a class on an unstable formation. But I would definitely ask them what to look for when you go out on your own. That's worth knowing.
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Re: Waterfall climbing

Postby NW » Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:39 pm

The course here is 2 days put on by the local rock and ice climbing club. Basically I think it will be a good introduction for me. Mostly I think it is a weekend of fun and some basic learning. Get a person out there and let them see if they really are interested. Depending on ice conditions at the falls sometimes they go to another place farther away. I like the seclusion of the falls but there is way more ice at the back up location. A few pictures on link below.

http://www.beta-source.com/gal-frame.ph ... elsfordIce
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Re: Waterfall climbing

Postby rhyang » Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:29 pm

Check out the Ice Climbing Forum page. It's a fun sport, but beware -- it can be a little addictive :mrgreen:
Taaaake !
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