Polar Circus, V, WI 5

8th -9th Pitches- 100m (photo)/ Hope you saved your strength. Definitely the crux of the route and where the WI 5 rating comes in. This is a massive sheet of ice and lines vary from left to right. You can find sustained WI 5 to the left for the entire two pitches via a hanging belay or take the easier road to the right which is sustained WI 4 with just a hint of WI 5 here and there and a more comfortable belay.

Start right and meander your way trending right. Some of this ice will no doubt be wet. This first pitch steepens for the last 15 meters or so as you reach a small ice cave feature which should be evident up the right side next to the wall. Make an ice station here. This pitch in total is about 45m. The crux of the entire route is the start of the final pitch. The first 15m out of the cave is the steepest ice. From below it appears the next curtain above is more difficult, even overhanging, but once you swing out of the cave and look up, the next curtain above eases off as it angles back left compared to the straight section you are on. Put away these two 15 meter curtains and you have defeated the crux with easy ice to the finish.

Polar Circus, V, WI 5, Icefield Parkway, Banff National Park, March 1, 2007


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