The Ice Climbing Atlas is a collaboration between Avalanche Canada, our ambassador Sarah Hueniken, and Grant Statham, a visitor safety specialist in Banff National Park. The intention of the atlas is to provide an overview of historical avalanche observations from popular ice climbs in the Rockies and is updated as information from more climbs is collected.
Avalanche observations are collected through surveys of local climbers conducted by Hueniken, a pro climber and alpine guide. Our hope is that by sharing historical data, climbers can better understand the avalanche hazard that exists on these popular climbs. We strongly encourage all ice climbers to always carry avalanche safety gear—transceiver, probe, and shovel.
Help us expand the Ice Climbing Atlas.
We're surveying people who have climbed in the David Thompson area. We have surveys for three climbs: Kitty Hawk, Nothing But the Breast, and Elliot Left Hand. If you've climbed any of these popular climbs, please take the time to fill these out. The surveys have been slightly revised and are even quicker to fill out. Every person's input is meaningful, and really helps us to provide a fuller picture to other climbers.
ATES for Waterfall Ice Climbing
The terrain in the Atlas is rated using the new Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) for Waterfall Ice Climbing . The focus for climbers is on exposure time, avalanche frequency, human triggering by considering exposure to terrain traps below, and options to reduce risk by reducing exposure through choice of belay locations, alternative descents, and more.
Routes with no exposure to avalanches except small sluffs and spindrift.
Routes with brief exposure to very low frequency avalanches starting from above or crossing occasional short slopes.
Routes with long exposure to low frequency avalanches or brief exposure to high frequency avalanches starting from above or crossing a few short slopes en route. Options to reduce exposure.
Routes with extended exposure to high frequency avalanches starting from above or crossing steep slopes en route with terrain traps below. Minimal options to reduce exposure.
Routes with sustained exposure to high frequency avalanches starting from above and crossing multiple steep slopes en route with terrain traps below. No options to reduce exposure.