If you’re looking for a unique winter experience in Winnipeg, why not check out one of Canada’s largest ice towers?
Anyone can climb the 20-metre structure in St. Boniface on weekends until the end of March. Advanced climbers can also try climbing during the week under the lights.
“We decided we should be able to do something that a lot of other people living in the mountains do,” Alpine club of Canada, St. Boniface section president André Mahé said.
WATCH: André Mahé talks about how you can start ice climbing
Mahé got the idea for an ice tower in Winnipeg about 20 years ago after he saw a picture of one in France.
“No other city in North America has an ice climbing tower,” Mahé said. “It’s unique, it’s exhilarating… and it’s a challenge.”
To climb the wall you will need to put a harness on, wear alpine boots, crampons and a helmet in case ice falls down.
WATCH: Shannon Cuciz gets ready to climb Winnipeg’s ice tower
Mahé also suggests you dress very warm with proper layers, a balaclava and gloves that allow you to move your fingers.
If you’re up on the tower for a long period of time and do not dress warm, you can get something called the “screaming barfies”, which is when your hands get so cold you feel like vomiting.
“You’ll also use ice tools in each hand which will help you climb vertical ice,” Mahé said. “It’s 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical to climb.”
People from all over the world have tried to conquer the tower in St. Boniface.
“We’ve had people from Korea and from South America climb the tower and they all thought it was just amazing to climb here in Winnipeg,” Mahé said.
The wall takes about five minutes to climb for people with experience.
“The one who has climbed it fastest in a competition here years ago was 25 seconds,” Mahé said.
The tower is located at 141 Messager Street and is open every Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:oo p.m.
A limited amount of equipment is available to use there, on a shared basis, free of charge.