Inside an Ice Canyon
In summer, the canyon rushes with churning water. From atop the limestone walls, one can peer down at the piercing greens of the river fed by Maligne Lake, the largest in Jasper National Park.
But in winter, when the water is silenced by its own transformation to crystal ice, the canyon is set to be explored from a whole new angle.
From the inside….
Leading up to the canyon is ice of every shape and shade of blue or green, and the slight rushing of water that was just too stubborn to freeze. We tested the chill with our fingertips, dipped our heads inside small gaps in the ice for a new perspective, and slid our hands along the smooth solid ripples.
Once inside the canyon (which is actually a gorge, at 55ms deep!), light dimmed, the trickling of water diminished, and sheer awe was induced.
That sheet of ice below? That would be the frosted surface of Maligne River, the top layer of it frozen before the water below retreated at the beginning of winter.
Some people prefer their waterfalls frozen. Our eagerness to try such an excursion was quickly diminished by the fact that ice climbing is damn hard.
Up the waterfall or not, the walk alone was an outstanding and unique excursion.
How to do it
Many thanks to Tourism Jasper for their assistance during our stay. As always, all opinions are our own.
That looks so beautiful, although I’m still too much of a pansy to do it.
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Cool! I’ve always wanted to see that canyon in the winter. Do you need special passes to get in? Can you walk-in? Or need to rappel down?
You can walk-in! We had a great tour, but you can do it on your own. I would recommend getting crampons though if you go solo.
Thank you!!! Great advice!
This is amazing! I’ve yet to visit a frozen waterfall, but I love the idea of visiting a canyon in the winter. Going on the bucket list!
WOW, great great pictures. Ice climbing seems so much fun but I think it’s super hard at the same time.
It is VERY hard. A waterfall might be a little easier than an ice wall (more edges), but still tough!
Amazing! Stunning photos! Thanks for sharing.
Such beautiful photography. What an intimate way to get close to the winter in Jasper. It looks like a great adventure! The more I see of your travels there the more I want to visit and explore the region myself!
Never ever seen anything like this before! Quite spectacular!
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I’m a total summer lover and actually try to avoid winter in Germany. But these photos look so amazing and I guess it’s worth wearing warm clothes and go outside to see the beautiful side of winter 🙂
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Such a cool unreal place! Pete – did you find it challenging to photograph? I found the light situation there really hard – but then again I don’t normally do HDR. Any tips for photographing a canyon from inside?!
Love the crampons and the photography is award-winning!
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That does look hard! I have done “ice walking” on a glacier in Argentina. That was scary enough. I can’t imagine actually climbing with crampons and ropes.
As usual, your photos are gorgeous. Like Stef, I think I would prefer to visit Jasper in the summer or fall; preferably on the back of a horse! What a trip.
This is beyond beautiful! It looks magical. What a great experience. Thanks for sharing.
Most amazing pictures. Ice climbing is always hard. Beautifully captured in camera too, especially the frosted surface of Maligne River. Award-winning!