I never understood the draw to ice climbing. Yes it looks invigorating in photos but think about it. Who in their right mind chooses to go out in the freezing cold to hang out on a big slab of ice, and in places with names like Junkyard? Nonetheless you have to try everything once right? My first experience of ice climbing was brutal, we spent hours in -30 °C for a few minutes of climbing. I left that day with a great deal of respect for the sport but also having decided that winter sports were just not for me. Lo and behold a year later I was roped in to try again. I don’t know if it was due to the preferable weather, the sublime person that dragged me out or if I had just gone crazy enough over the last year, but after one climb I was hooked.
A mere 10 minutes out of Canmore and a 15 minute approach to the climbs, the Junkyard was the perfect place to start out. With climbs averaging in the WI2 to WI3 range it is optimal for beginners or anyone brushing up on their skills. On top of that you get to climb with a quintessential view of Ha Ling peak! As I am just a beginner I have little sense for how the grading system works and feels. Most climbs I have done have been in the WI3 range and feel like big 5.9 jug halls. The technique and strength required are far different and difficult to compare. Here are a couple links to some great resources on ice grades.