Austin Doyle has been climbing mountains for the better half of his life.
Travelling around the world to climb some of the worlds largest, most dangerous mountains – Yosemite, Red Rocks, Joshua Tree, El Potrero, Mount Kenya, Thailand and more.
“My cousin got me into rock climbing when I was just a kid,” he said. “When I was younger I built a 50 foot climbing wall at my mother’s house. It kind of just progressed over time and as I got older.”
Doyle began ice climbing 11 years ago and has been on the lookout for the next steep to climb, ever since. The most consistent areas to climb are steeps that come out from a rock – waterfalls having a higher volume of water, it takes a lot more to freeze.
“Places like Canim Falls or Deception Falls take a lot longer to freeze because of the volume of water,” he said. “I climbed Canim Falls roughly 10 years ago and it was totally different when I climbed it compared to this year. It wasn’t like the run-off I was used to. It was right beside the falls, so half of it was frozen and the other half was flowing.”
Ice climbing is a physically intensive sport. It requires strength, endurance and skill – each step needs to be thought and planned to ensure the climber is safe while enjoying the sport. In British Columbia, there are plenty of opportunities to ice climb on natural surfaces, being waterfalls or mountain ice. However, these are not man-made and climbers are put at risk to natual events happening.
“One of the worst experiences was getting caught in an avalanche,” he said. “The best way to describe something like that, is like tubing behind a boat in the water and being flipped off, thinking you’ve fallen off, but really you are being dragged through the water. It felt exactly like that. Luckily, I was fine and was not seriously injured.”
This year, Doyle has focused on climbing around the interior of BC. This extreme sport has become a weekend hobby. Most weekends are spent climbing with his friends. He said there is a lot of good climbing towards Lillooet, Revelstoke, Salmon Arm and Shuswap Lake.
“For me, everyday climbing is a great day,” he said. “The fact that I have climbed many places around the world – it has been one amazing experience after another.”