In Ice Climbing, One Move Is All You Need

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”?