Brian and I put together a last minute trip to see if we were able to climb any ice in Canada. We flew from Denver, Colorado, to Calgary, Alberta, and then drove to Canmore, Alberta, on Sunday. Given the time of the year, the flights and hotels were relatively inexpensive. We stopped at the Grizzly Paw Brewing Company for a beer before checking into the Malcolm Hotel. We grabbed some dinner and got some rest.
The following morning we drove to Banff, Alberta, and found the trailhead for Professor Falls near the Bow Falls Viewpoint. Since Golf Course Road is closed from November to May, we had to hike on the road for a majority of the approach. We hiked past Mount Rundle and the road eventually ends near hole five of the golf course and then you hike along the Bow River until you see the Professor Falls above and to the right. At this point you gain a bit of elevation to get to the base of the climb. A lot of people bike to the end of the road or all the way to the cutoff to the climb.
We swapped leads all day and completed the best ice climb I have ever done. The pitches were challenging and sustained (for us) but not scary. We caught the route in favorable conditions with warm weather, soft ice, and hero sticks. All of the pitches were fairly similar in length and difficulty, and they all had bolts or existing V-threads for quick anchor set up and rappelling on the descent. The pitches had distinct steps in between them very similar to many routes in Cody, Wyoming.
After the road hike out, we found ourselves having wings and a pint at the Banff Avenue Brewing Company in the afternoon. Bear Street Tavern had specials on pizza and beers too, so we went over there for dinner and drinks before driving back to Canmore, Alberta. We soaked in the hot tub a while and then prepared for the next day.