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article imageTwo Canadians first to climb treacherous Horseshoe Falls ice wall

By Marcus Hondro     Jan 31, 2015 in Sports
There's something about winter that brings out the courage, and brazen competitive foolishness, of Canadians. They show it in hockey, on skis and in climbing ice walls. Yes, Canadians Will Gadd and Sarah Hueniken climbed a wall of ice.
The two adventurers started on the American side of Niagra Falls, and wound up in Canada. Gadd, a world-renowned ice-climber, went first and using ice hooks he climbed Terrapin Point, right next to Horseshoe Falls, the most powerful waterfall on Earth (681,750 gallons of water falls per second).
At one point Gadd said he was actually under the spraying water of the Falls, climbing up the ice wall that is behind the rushing water. It's a 147-foot climb up frozen, rotten spray ice, dangerous but, he'll tell you, a most exhilarating experience and one that gives a sense of how small we humans really are.
"The power of the falls is staggering," Gadd told National Geographic. "It vibrates your intestines and makes you feel very, very small. I've never experienced anything like it."
From Canmore, Alberta, Gadd, 47, was named the 2015 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year so he's accustomed to pulling off feats of bravery and, well, brazen foolishness, in nature. The three-time Gold medalist at the X Games and winner of the Ice Climbing World Cup is also into paragliding (a world record holder for distance) and first-descent kayaking. He hosts the documentary series Fearless Planet.
Hueniken, 34, followed him, huddling in an ice-cave for a time to avoid falling ice from Gadd's climb. She has climbed with Gadd before and is a devoted outdoor adventurer. She grew up in Canada near the falls and told National Geographic the edge has always had a fascination for her. "This place has a kind of power over people," she said.
Just like, we might add, winter and danger has a kind of power over many Canadians.
More about iceclimbing, will gadd, canadians climb ice falls, climbing ice wall, Paragliding
 
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