Ice Climbing Season in “Full Swing”
Ice climbing season is in full swing in the Northeast which means the work never ends. Sharpening tools, sharpening crampons, touching up Ice Screws, selecting the right gear for the objective, pull ups, pull ups, and more pull ups. Petzl has a great series of information on becoming an Ice Climber
Entering The Thunderdome
Climbing frozen water is a truly unique activity. No matter how many times a route is climbed, each time is a new experience as the conditions change. There are countless events, resources, and people that will help you get on the ice for the first time and hopefully for the rest of your life.
Attend some ice climbing festivals.
If you don’t own any equipment or know anyone that can take you out for the first time, attend a regional ice festival. Ice festivals provide demo equipment, clinics, and a great atmosphere full of people looking to break into the sport. There are usually movies or slideshows from professionals and a great, welcoming atmosphere.
10 Major U.S. Ice Festivals:
- Bozeman Ice Fest – MT
- Sandstone Ice Festival – MN
- Adirondack International Mountaineering Festival – NY
- Ouray Ice Festival – CO
- Smugglers’ Notch Ice Bash – VT
- Catskill Ice Festival – NY
- Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest – NH
- Cody Ice Festival – WY
- Michigan Ice Festival – MI
- Valdez Ice Climbing Festival – AK
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR CRAMPONS
Why climb with leashless ice tools?
Leashes limit freedom of movement, make it harder to shake out your forearms, and hinder the ability to perform high-end moves. Modern ice tools are equipped with ergonomic shafts and grips that are easy to handle. Picks should be well maintained and properly sharpened. Using a pair of tools with a hammer and adze allows you to deal with any situation.
What size ice screws should I bring?
Always choose high-quality ice screws. Poor quality screws are difficult to place and put you at a greater risk if you need to place a screw quickly. Ice screws need to be well-maintained and sharpened on a regular basis; one dull or damaged tooth makes it difficult or even impossible for the screw to engage. Ice clippers for your harness make it easier to clip and unclip an ice screws. Carry a range of Ice Screws ranging in size from 10cm up to 19cm.
Ice Specific Gear
The must have gear to make ice climbing possible. These tools are what separate ice climbing from traditional mountaineering and come in a wide range of styles and designs.
General Climbing Gear:
Ice climbing requires a different skill set and technique, much of the equipment needed is common in most other forms of climbing. A beginning ice climber may already own most of the gear needed to ice climb.
The essential kit for ice climbing
- A harness with 4 gear loops
- Crampons with anti-balling plates
- Leashless ice tools designed for ice climbing
- Ice screws
- 2 ice-screw holders
- 10 quickdraws
- double-length slings (120cm) racked on one carabiner: 1 for each anchor and 2 extras for other situations
- 4locking carabiners for anchors
- belay device for double ropes, to belay the leader, the second, and to rappel
- v-thread hook, an essential tool for turning around and heading back down
- pair of double ropes, 60m each if possible
- pair of thin gloves and 1 pair of very warm gloves
- 35/40L backpack pair of winter boots with rigid soles
- 5 m of accessory cord to leave at each anchor on the descent
- very warm parka (down or synthetic)
- breathable and waterproof jacket and pants
- pair of ski goggles for windy conditions
- first-aid kit for a day trip
- thermos filled with hot tea is a nice plus
- hearty meal including salami, cheese, wine…
- beanie that covers your ears and to wear beneath your helmet
Shop our online store, we have a huge selection of ice climbing gear and spare parts.