One of the most popular stories on Evening Sends last year was one in which I wondered who would make the first ascent of Niagara Falls following its deep freeze from the Polar Vortex. I posted that article as a bit of a lark, and was really surprised to see how much traffic it received. Either way, I never actually thought someone would ice climb one of the world’s most famous—and protected—waterfalls.
Of course, I was wrong and of course it was none other than Will Gadd to have nabbed the honors of picking his way up a beautiful swath of brittle spray-ice. Apparently, his ascent required a lot of planning and logistics to get the permission required to achieve his “stunt,” as a local television station accurately described it. His sponsor, Red Bull, took on the task of obtaining this level of clearance and actually succeeded in getting it. In fact, gaining access to climb Niagara Falls is certainly much more impressive than actually climbing it—Mark Synnott wrote a nice piece for National Geographic that describes those logistics. That said, I wouldn’t really want to lead this pitch as it looks mildly horrifying to be climbing next to hundreds of thousands of tons of raging water mere feet away.
The ascent was supposed to be on the down-low, but the story leaked out on a local news station and so Red Bull just went with it. My friend Keith Ladzinski was on the scene, capturing the beautiful photos of the ascent. He said Gadd made the WI 6 route look “super easy.”
Anyway … What I want to know is that now that this stunt is over, will Will give me the credit I think I deserve for coming up with this stunt idea? I mean, clearly none of this would’ve happened without me, me, ME!?!?
Now, the only question left is: What’s the next stunt going to be? My vote goes to the first person who can combine an ice-climbing ascent with a barrel descent of Niagara Falls. Based on my current success rate of forecasting these types of things, I predict this will happen within the year …