Canadian climber Will Gadd has become the first person to ever climb frozen Niagara Falls.
More commonly associated with the daredevil pursuits of highwire walks or riding the powerful cascades in a barrel, Gadd, 47, made history when he took the opportunity of the area’s annual freeze to scale the 180-foot frozen cliffs next to Horseshoe Falls.
“I checked out the spot we were thinking of climbing in the summer,” Gadd told Redbull.com. “You’d be swept away by the torrential downpour then.”
Gadd may have claimed the glory of being first over the lip, but he didn’t climb alone. His partner — who achieved the same remarkable climb just hours later — was a fellow Canadian, 34-year-old Sarah Hueniken.
She was left huddling in an ice cave for several hours partway up the route, to avoid being hit with chunks of ice, National Geographic reports.
The vulnerable ice formations posed peculiar challenges to the experienced climbers. “The ice is formed in layers,” Gadd said. “That means there’s a layer of ice, then snow (with a lot of air), then another layer of ice. It’s unstable, for sure.”