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Alberta Adventurer climbs Canada's tallest frozen waterfall in BC's backyard

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Michelle Morton Mar 26, 2019 10:28 am

“It was frozen up — and it was one of the coolest climbs I’ve ever done.”

That’s what professional ice climber Will Gadd said after he climbed up Canada’s tallest waterfall. Della Falls on Vancouver Island stands at about 440 metres tall.

The adventurer from Canmore, Alberta, climbed the frozen waterfall this month after waiting for nearly three years for the timing and conditions to be right, with local climber Chris Jensen.

Gadd told Daily Hive Vancouver in a phone interview that as a professional waterfall ice Climber: “I’m always interested in really big ones, you know, it’s like big fish or whatever people are into, like what’s the biggest one out there?”

But getting to the very remote location was no walk in the park, Gadd said.

It was a four day round trip, explaining that first you need to take a boat 35 KM across Great Central Lake and then hike another 15 KM, “which in summer isn’t too bad, there’s a decent trail in there, but in winter it’s a whole other story, so you know, you’re in a minimum for two days to get into a climb by the time that’s all said and done.”

Peter Hoang / Red Bull Content Pool

“Hiking through the woods, there’s enough snow there in short order that the trail’s down there somewhere but you’re hiking through water-soaked cedars and spruces that are… you know… I’ve never been so wet in my life on dry land,” Gadd said, describing the trek before they camped that evening.

He said the next morning they continued hiking, and after about 11 hours on foot, the two climbers and photographer finally reached the frozen Della Falls.

Gadd said when he first looked at the falls, he underestimated the climb, “that’s two or three ropes to the top, you know, it doesn’t look that big — and once we got on it, we were like ‘wow, this thing is HUGE’ we were sorta lost on it because it goes through a couple of benches and things and we thought we were up much higher then we were.”

Peter Hoang / Red Bull Content Pool

Peter Hoang / Red Bull Content Pool

Peter Hoang / Red Bull Content Pool

Peter Hoang / Red Bull Content Pool

Peter Hoang / Red Bull Content Pool

“It was actually really hard ice climbing, big, what are called, mushrooms of overhanging ice,” Gadd said.

“It was just really wild ice climbing and challenging and then you’re remote so you gotta take more care then you do normally because you’re way out there, you know, this is not a roadside attraction where if you twist your ankle you hobble back to the car and call it a day, you’ve got to really respect the situation you’re in out there.”

Gadd said that he’s been climbing for 35 years and each climb prepares you for the next.

Peter Hoang / Red Bull Content Pool

As for what’s next for Gadd, he said he’s already looking for his next adventure, but this summer he’ll be returning to Greenland to help scientists explore caves beneath icecaps for a project called ‘Beneath the Ice’ on Red Bull TV.

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