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Video goes viral of rock climbing in Jasper gone wrong during rainstorm

Getting caught on a rock led to a high click count for Sasha Galitzki.
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Screenshots of Sasha Galitzki’s social media reel showing her recent adventure during a surprise rain event on Rabbit Ears.

When Sasha Galitzki and her partner set out to climb Rabbit Ears in Jasper National Park on June 23, they didn’t expect to run into two things: inclement weather and internet fame.

They found themselves unable to reach the top of their climb due to a deluge that poured enough precipitation onto the rock that made it look like an impromptu waterslide. Her brief video of it on her social media pages – please note the adult language being used – has already been viewed more than two million times.

They originally intended to undertake Meissner's Ridge, which is a pretty serious mountaineering objective, she admitted. The duo double-checked the weather forecast, noted the there was a slight chance of precipitation in the afternoon, and prepared for all possibilities. Changing their route was the smart move.

“The Ridge is very committing; there's not really an easy way to bail off of it if weather does come in. So, we opted to choose to attempt to climb the Rabbit Ears in front, which was a route that we knew we could bail off of if needed,” Galitzki said.

They still had to pack raft and bushwhack to get to the base. The weather looked great all the way through right up to the point where they were at the third pitch when it started to rain.

“There was not a huge amount of water, but because of the shape of that mountain you're climbing up this corner, all of the water on the entire face above us was funneled into this corner we were climbing, which created very quickly quite a lot of water coming through that corner under our feet. We were able to get a really solid anchor in right as soon as the rain started.”

The rain jackets went on, so they stayed dry enough, but their pants and shoes weren’t covered, which led to them getting a bit chilly.

They were never at risk of being swept off the wall though, she said. Instead, they hunkered down and waited it out until the water subsided before they could rappel out. At no point did they feel like they were in a dire situation, only an unusual one.

“I've never been in a situation like that, where I've had such a strong waterfall feature literally underfoot, especially in such a short amount of time. That was unexpected and pretty exciting. It was cool to witness.”

The video of it reveals what they dealt with: a formidable torrent right in that rocky corner, with the rock face looking smooth and slick like a waterslide.

Galitzki often posts video snippets of her climbs and other activities, with some reaching 1,000 views and up. The popularity of this one, she said, still baffles her.

“We were very surprised. We just thought it was kind of a funny video. It’s just wild.”

The good news is that the two revisited the site for a second attempt a week later, which also served as a prime opportunity for them to retrieve the gear that they left behind. The funny news is that it also rained on that trip, but thankfully it was not as much of a deluge as the first time. The video snippet of that also contains adult language.

The whole experience does provide the two experienced mountaineers with a chance to remind the public about expecting the unexpected.

“If you're out in the mountains, no matter what the forecast says, you have to be prepared for anything. You can be surprised. You need to be prepared. That's Mountain Safety 101, I think,” she said.

“We felt grateful that we had all the gear we needed to stay safe, but it was a good reminder of how important that is.”

The Meissner Ridge – “a Jasper classic,” she said – remains on the duo’s to-do list.


Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Ecology and Environment Reporter at the Fitzhugh Newspaper since July 2022 under Local Journalism Initiative funding provided by News Media Canada.
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