Ice Guide : Southcentral : Valdez : Keystone Canyon

Keystone Canyon

Valdez ice climbing is most well known for Keystone Canyon because of accessibility, quality, and length of routes. The Canyon exists approximately 13 miles outside of Valdez and most routes require only a 5 to 10 minute hike to the base to reach multi-pitch, deep blue ice. Keystone Greensteps and Bridalveil Falls are the signature routes in the canyon but numerous other quality routes abound. Not too many other areas in the world exist with such high caliber waterfall ice as Keystone Canyon.

This narrow canyon is carved out by the Lowe River, leaving a 800 foot cut just large enough to allow for the Lowe River and Richardson Highway to pass through. In addition, the Trans Alaska Pipeline uses this corridor on the top of the east canyon wall to make its way to the terminal in Valdez. Keystone Canyon creates its own micro-climate because of the extreme nature of the geology. This narrow pass can constrict and increase the velocity of wind and lead to incredibly interesting ice formations like the bells and umbrellas found on Hung Jury. Simply put, this place is a must see for every ice climbing aficionado and adventurer alike.


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