Video: Daredevil ice climbers become first pair to ascend Niagara Falls

Will Gadd and Sarah Hueniken completed the climb on Tuesday but it was kept under wraps by sponsors Red Bull

Click to follow
The Independent US

If going down Niagara Falls in a barrel wasn’t dangerous enough, two daredevil ice climbers have managed to climb up the legendary waterfall.

Canadian ice climbers Will Gadd and Sarah Hueniken became the first two people to ever ascend Niagara Falls, ice picking their way up a 30-foot-wide ice ledge that had formed on the Horsehoe section of North America’s largest waterfall.

The two adventurers completed the climb on Tuesday but had their achievement kept secret by sponsors Red Bull because they intended to release the news after the Super Bowl. However, information on the climb was leaked and Red Bull was forced to make the incredible feat public.

Gadd, 47, led the 45-metre climb and reached the fall's ledge in just under an hour.

Hueniken, 34, completed the fall slightly later, after she had to take cover in a crevice to avoid falling chunks of ice.

Reflecting on the climb, Gadd told ABC: "There's only one Mount Everest, there's only one Niagara Falls and I feel really lucky because that ended a lot of hard work by a lot of people and I got to climb something to me that was really amazing and really beautiful and a whole lot of fun," he said.

"So I feel quite lucky and I think I'm just going to focus on that for a bit and try and warm up, I got really cold too."

Red-Bull.jpgAs well as having to deal fatigue and icy cold temperatures, the two climbers had to ensure they avoided the 50,000 tons of water flowing over the crest at 100kph every minute.

A hazard that was not lost on Gadd: "It was difficult because that water makes mist and the mist was actually still blowing onto the ice and I was covering up my ice tools.

The National Geographic Adventurer of the Year added: "It was a little bit different, it added to the hazards for sure. It was complicated, but yeah, we figured out how to do it reasonably safely and had a great climb."

Heuniken, who grew up near the falls said climbing Niagara had always been a life goal.

She said: "As a kid, I always felt drawn to the edge of the falls

"I think it's human nature to be curious about gravity and to wonder what it would feel like to go over.

"It's a weird thing, but anyone who has been to the falls knows the feeling

“This place has a kind of power over people."