Ice Climbing Montmorency Falls

Quebec City is a great place in the winter or summer. The city itself has a ton to offer the traveler but perhaps the best thing about Quebec City is that it has some real cool adventure activities nearby.
Montmorency Falls, waterfall, ice climbing, Quebec, Quebec City, Canada
Montmorency Falls are 275 feet tall and some 150 feet wide. They are the highest waterfalls in the province of Quebec and are actually 100 feet higher than Niagara Falls themselves! Montmorency Falls are part of a larger development Quebec is undertaking to take the area around the falls and turn it into a winter and summer outdoor adventure area.
Montmorency Falls, waterfall, ice climbing, Quebec, Quebec City, Canada
They are on the right path. It is a beautiful place in the world. With the falls as the centerpiece you can walk down massive amounts of stairs on either side to view the falls. Additionally, a suspension bridge over the crest of the falls provides access to both sides of the park along with great views of the falls and the frozen basin below.
Montmorency Falls, waterfall, ice climbing, Quebec, Quebec City, Canada
There are several activities you can partake in at the falls like snow shoeing or snowmobiling but to me there was really only one option and that was ice climbing. If you’ve never ice climbed before, here’s the skinny.
Montmorency Falls, waterfall, ice climbing, Quebec, Quebec City, Canada
You climb up the sheer face of a frozen glacier, mountain or in this case waterfall. You do this with crampons on your feet, which you jam into the ice to provide a base for your body and you step up the ice by continuing this practice.
Montmorency Falls, waterfall, ice climbing, Quebec, Quebec City, Canada
At the same time you have two ice axes, one in each hand. You use these in much the same way as you do the crampons to gain strength and steady yourself. It takes a while to get used to and it is not easy. It requires confidence, guts and strength. You also cannot make the mistake of looking down!
Montmorency Falls, waterfall, ice climbing, Quebec, Quebec City, Canada
I went ice climbing Montmorency Falls with a French guide who was from Chamonix, France (one of my favorite places). His English wasn’t great so communication was a little tough at times especially with the safety briefing. I had been ice climbing a few times before so I felt pretty confident. However, every instructor does things his own way so obviously I didn’t want any cross ups on a sheer ice face.
Montmorency Falls, waterfall, ice climbing, Quebec, Quebec City, Canada
As they always do, things worked out pretty well and I had a great experience on the waterfall. It was tough with some nearly inverted angles but for me, the hardest part is and was always getting down! Once you’ve made it to the point you aim for, you’re all excited before you realize you have to go back down and try not to slide down banging your face the whole way or worse! Anyway, I made it!
Montmorency Falls, waterfall, ice climbing, Quebec, Quebec City, Canada
Ice climbing isn’t for everyone-trust me. It is cold, tough and very exhausting but if you like to succeed and like the physical challenge, it is a great experience.
Montmorency Falls, waterfall, ice climbing, Quebec, Quebec City, Canada
However, even if you don’t want to go ice climbing Montmorency Falls, you should definitely get out there to check them out if you’re in the Quebec City area. It’s a great view and makes for awesome pictures. I would love to go back in the summer and check it out when it’s not frozen over-although it’s tough beat these amazing pictures!

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  1. Wow sounds like a fun activity but I am so weak, don’t think I could do it!

  2. Sounds amazing…great pics too!

  3. Lee, good stuff….love to check that out some time

  4. Dude….that looks awesome! How cold was it?

  5. Lee I did some ice climbing before, it’s no joke….good for you, hope you weren’t too sore the next day!

  6. I just saw you updated your MTP count. Did you get to Conway Reef (Cevu-i-Ra) and Rotuma on your most recent trip to Fiji — were those your updates? How did you get to those places, especially Conway Reef . We are researching a Dxpedition to Conway and would really appreciate your advice.

    How much time did you spend on Rotuma? Was it easy to arrange the home stay?


    • Hi Richard, my update was Kiritimati (Christmas Island), Kiribati or the Line Islands…For the others I went several years ago. Rotuma was simple, there is a daily flight from Suva, or at least there used to be if there’s not anymore I don’t know- I stayed overnight and it was set up for me. Conway, as you know you have be a part of a private boat or an expedition. They run fairly regular ones with DXCC and also there are private ones but I have no information on them.

  7. Hi Lee, I am also planning on going on the Dxpedition to Conway Reef. You’re the first non-Dxer that I’ve seen that’s visited.

    How long was the trip from Fiji (which port) to Conway Reef? Who did you go with? Where did you head from Conway? It would seem odd for a private boat to make a simple round trip to Conway Reef — did you head to New Caledonia?

  8. Hey Lee, I’m sure you’re busy, but would really appreciate any advice/tips you can give on Conway Reef. I know that you travel non-stop but that must have been a very memorable visit, at least according to other Dx trip reports I’ve read (that don’t give any practical info).

    Can you provide a mini trip report on your visit to Conway Reef? We’ll credit you on our Dx website.


    • Hi Reg and I really appreciate the quest for info as I have been in that situation many times before and currently am as I am always looking for info on getting to Wake, Bouvet, Paracels, BIOT and a few others. But in this case, I am sorry but I really don’t have any info for you as I said. It was some 11 years ago I did these trips around Fiji and I never wrote anything about it-have no idea the name of the boat or skipper. I have been back 6 times since but always around Viti Levu and the surrounding islands. This was well before I started doing what I am doing now and well before I started this website-I never thought much about it. I didn’t even have a camera back then! I had throwaways if anything! I had never heard of DX, Ham radio, TCC or MTP at that point.

  9. Thanks, and best of luck on your list — those are tough, even for hardcore DXers to get to.

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