“Internationally renowned ice climber Will Gadd takes ice climbing to the next level by scaling the frozen sections of the world’s largest flowing waterfall, Niagara Falls. Gadd, a world-renowned ice climber and paraglider from Alberta, Canada, has travelled to the ends of the earth to find the world’s most challenging climbs, but Niagara Falls, one of his home country‘s most iconic landmarks, is a lifelong mission that he previously thought impossible…until now.
The massive water flow constantly shakes the ground, and makes the ice shelves and walls around you unsteady and unpredictable…
After working with NYS Parks Department and NYS Parks Police, Gadd and his team were able to create a comprehensive plan to ensure the climb could be done safely and the necessary precautions were taken to protect the natural environment, as he put the final touch on one of his most epic years ever as a climber. “It’s one of the most visited places in North America,” Gadd said. “We have to treat it as a jewel, or it won’t work.”
There were two priorities for the climb – ethics, and safety. “We’re doing it on natural protection,” Gadd said. “No bolts. There won’t be one thing left in the ice that wasn’t there to begin with, and that’s the best possible way to do it.” The line – which sits on the American side of the Horseshoe section of Niagara, near what’s known as Terrapin Point – extends approximately 147 feet from bottom to top.
It’s a harsh environment and an intense challenge to stay attached to the wall, let alone climb it
It’s not easy ice, either. “The ice is formed in layers,” Gadd said. “That means there’s a layer of ice, then snow (with a lot of air), then another layer of ice. It’s unstable, for sure.” Will estimates the grade at WI6+, as hard as it gets for this style of climbing. Tools he used include ice axes, crampons, and a specially-designed Black Diamond prototype ice hook…”
(Interview courtesy of Redbull)
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