In Ice Climbing, One Move Is All You Need

By Margo Talbot, 05 January 2014

  • DATE

    05 January 2014


    Margo Talbot


    Alpine & Ice Climbing

Ever since I started ice climbing I’ve had to listen to people tell me that “all ice is the same.” For 18 years, I ignored these people. But two years ago, as I was driving along the Icefields Parkway looking up at the smatterings of ice along the rock cliffs, I realized that it was true. I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure it out, but once I did, the obvious question became: Why the hell am I driving two and a half hours to Weeping Wall when I can simply go to the Junkyards?

I made the decision to only climb one ice route for the rest of the season. I wanted to choose something close to home, and with enough pitches and atmosphere to satisfy my aesthetic nature. I chose Professor Falls. Obviously I had to cycle through my list of partners, because unlike me, nobody else wanted to sign up to my new obsession. But eventually I ran out of willing partners, and that’s when my real epiphany happened…

I realized that ice climbing was nothing more than doing the same move over and over again: You place your axe, bring your feet up, place your axe, bring your feet up. So a new, obvious question arose: Why am I wasting my time climbing a route, or even a pitch? Why don’t I simply do “the move”?

Margo Talbot

Canmore, Alberta

​Born in New Brunswick and heading west at her earliest convenience, Margo’s world was transformed the day she swung her first axe into the ice. The immediacy, focus and joy of the activity has been her passion ever since. Margo credits physical activity and her relationship with nature as the driving forces in her healing journey through addiction and depression, a journey chronicled in her tell-all expose, All That Glitters.

Margo lives in Canmore Alberta, surrounded by the beauty of the Canadian Rockies. When she’s not out playing in the mountains, Margo spends her time speaking, writing and teaching people how to climb. Her goal is to introduce as many people as possible to the activity that literally saved her life.