Ice climbing in Ouray, Colorado; courtesy Robert Turner, My Shot
Champion ice climber and paraglider Will Gadd knows ice pretty much better than anyone. He's searched the world over—from frozen falls in British Columbia (he's just back from Helmcken Falls) to icebergs cruising the North Atlantic (very dangerous, not recommended)—to find the best places to enjoy his sport. Here's his list of the top five ice climbing spots that you should consider.
Will Gadd's Five Favorite Ice Climbing Spots
1. Canmore, Alberta
I can live anywhere in the world, and I choose to live here for the ice. That says it all, really.
2. Ouray, Colorado
The most accessible, fun, and user-friendly place to get really good at vertical ice climbing.
3. Rjukan, Norway
Andreas Spak and his team at Rjukan Adventure have helped turn Rjukan in the Euro version of Ouray. So many routes, so much unexplored terrain, it's a must-visit on any ice climber's list.
4. Kanderstag, Switzerland
Not as reliable as the above three destinations, but when it's on it's EPIC. Very much worth visiting even if the ice is junk, it's all Swiss and nice.
5. Helmcken Falls Spray Cave, British Columbia, Canada
Getting here requires a little more work, but this is the best ice climbing in the world—if you like it steep, hard, and super fun. There are even a couple of easier routes there now too! Helmcken Falls Lodge offers a killer winter deal (I paid, no kickbacks or other relationships) of a room with two beds, including breakfast and a good dinner, for a total fo $120 per night. It is the future....