What Is Ice Climbing?
Ice climbing is like rock climbing except that you’re climbing on rock-solid ice. Way back, ice climbing was considered a part of mountaineering where climbers would need to pass through an icy portion of the mountain on their way up to the summit. Currently, ice climbing is considered a separate sporting activity and has grown popular among adventure junkies who spend their time face to face with the side of a glacier or frozen waterfall.
Like any other climbing activity, this one should be done in pairs and choose wisely as you will hold your buddies life in your hands.
Ice climbing is considered an extreme sport due to the risk of sudden inclement weather conditions and the dangers of avalanches, deep ravines, or falling on hard snow.
Suit Up For The Climb
Ice climbing requires technical gear to help you defeat ice walls. In selecting boots, a climber needs to consider the type of ice, its texture, and the angle of the ice wall. Hiking or mountaineering boots can be used for flat ice climbs but for serious ice climbing, you need boots with good ankle support and crampons. You’ll also need harnesses, helmets, ice axes, climbing rope, ice screws and a backpack.
Warm clothing is a no-brainer. An insulated jacket, waterproof jacket with hood and pants, and a good pair of socks can help you stay warm and dry. Have some spare clothes handy to change into after a sweaty climb.
Climbing Skills and Techniques
Professional climbers, coaches or classes will help you learn the best climbing and ice axe techniques. There are several basic techniques that you ought to learn before axing your way up an ice wall, for your safety as well for others with you.
Best Time Of Year To Ice Climb
Ice climbing, contrary to popular belief, can be done all year round. There are certain places where glaciers offer ideal spots for climbing at any time of the year. Nonetheless, the winter months provide the best conditions for climbing.
You may also want to try rock climbing as an alternative during the off-season. Rock climbing allows mountaineers to stay in perfect shape during warmer months while honing skills for the next ice climb.
Ice climbing may seem intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’re away. The dangers are low if you know how to climb responsibly and learning from experienced professionals lowers the risk of injury considerably.
So what are you waiting for? Go out and enjoy the cold and ice before this season ends.