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Will Gadd: Niagara Falls Climber Scales 'Unpredictable' Ice Wall

Image: Will Gadd: Niagara Falls Climber Scales 'Unpredictable' Ice Wall
Canadian ice climber Will Gadd poses for a portrait. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Friday, 30 Jan 2015 04:45 PM

Adventurer Will Gadd scaled the face of a partially frozen Niagara Falls this week, armed with ice hooks and axes and accompanied by bitterly cold rushing water.

Gadd told Red Bull that he and his team planned the climb of one of the nation’s most popular tourist spots since summer, working with park officials to make sure nothing would be done to harm the environment. The second challenge, of course, was tackling a climb in harsh conditions. The falls aren’t completely frozen, and water poured out nearby as he swung his way up the ice wall.

"The massive water flow constantly shakes the ground, and makes the ice shelves and walls around you unsteady and unpredictable," Gadd said. "It's a harsh environment and an intense challenge to stay attached to the wall, let alone climb it."

While many have tried to ride the falls down to the bottom, this is the first time someone has gone the other direction.

Gadd climbed near the Terrapin Point area, in a distance that was about 147 feet.

The harsh environment made it a difficult climb.

“The ice is formed in layers," Gadd told Red Bull. "That means there's a layer of ice, then snow (with a lot of air), then another layer of ice. It's unstable, for sure.” He estimated the climb at a grade of WI6+, which is the hardest climb possible for the type of climbing.

At the beginning of the climb, the water gushed into a hole Gadd nicknamed the “cauldron of doom.”

“If you go in the 'cauldron of doom,' you're done," Gadd told Red Bull. "You can hit rocks, drown, or freeze to death.”

Gadd’s website notes he's won the Ice Climbing World Cup, three gold medals at the X Games, set the world distance record for paragliding twice, and he’s won the Canadian National Sport-Climbing Championships four times.



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Adventurer Will Gadd scaled the face of a partially frozen Niagara Falls this week, armed with ice hooks and axes and accompanied by bitterly cold rushing water.
will gadd, niagara falls, climb, ice, wall
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2015-45-30
Friday, 30 Jan 2015 04:45 PM
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