Polar Circus

The one and only Polar Circus is likely the most famous waterfall ice climb in the world! This massive climb starts just 5 minutes from the road and consists of pitch, after pitch, after pitch, of progressively harder ice climbing. Five hundred meters of grade 3 to grade 5 ice is climbed as well as two hundred meters of snow slopes. The crux is the very last pitch!  Polar Circus is a favorite of almost everyone who scales it and is not to be missed by those with the skill and endurance to ascend this grand route. Descent is made by rappelling back down the route. 

Polar Circus crux pitch of ice climbing

Location: Icefields Parkway near the Columbia Icefields.  A 2.5 hour drive from Canmore or 1.5 hour drive from Nordegg, Jasper or Lake Louise.

Difficulty: WI5

Length: 700m!!!

Logistics: Either make the drive from Canmore/Jasper/Nordegg, or stay at one of the HI Hostels closer by.  One guest per guide is recommended, although two guests may join for ascents of Polar Circus if both are very fast and experienced ice climbers.

Guide leading ice on Polar Circus
Polar Circus ice climb

Other Nearby Routes

Polar Circus ice climb in Banff National park
Upper pitches of Polar Circus on the Icefields Parkway