A fascinating climbing sub sport is taking the world by storm with more and more people willing to practice this unique activity. Ice climbing is more attractive and exciting when performed as part of a team, similar to other types of climbing sports. Moreover, the activity went from a niche sport to a worldwide sensation. Overall, there are more than 35 million climbers globally. Historically, climbing was meant for military purposes, with ice climbing being part of that.

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For instance, Hannibal used to hike the Alps into Rome, where scrambling and ice climbing were involved. In modern times, ice climbing is mainly used for a mountain ascent since some sections may be vertical and would require to adopt this style of sport. Here’s what to know about ice climbing and how to do it correctly.

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Here’s How Ice Climbing Works And The Various Types Of This Sport

People usually use crampons coupled with solid boots to stand firmly and balance the ice when practicing ice climbing. Moreover, to gain traction, ice climbers use two ice axes for their hands. The ice wall is then ascended with this equipment, which gives the climbers a solid purchase with one ax while moving the other.

An ice screw is placed into the frozen waterfall to keep it safe every 3 or 5 meters while climbing the mountain. A clip in a quick draw followed by the trailing rope is also placed into the frozen waterfall, and this process repeats until reaching the top of the mountain. By that, the belayer can easily climb up with the help of the ice screws that were placed on the way.

Climbing is standard and is usually the same when put into practice. However, the type of ice may vary, which makes ice climbing possible in differing challenges. For instance, the alpine ice consists of hard ice and glaciers formed following multiple snowfalls.

  • Information: Alpine ice takes millions of years to form and is known as “blue ice.” Moreover, climbs on this type of ice consist of lengthy steep slopes.

Another type is the water ice, which forms quickly every season. It consists of frozen rivers and lakes. However, for climbing water ice, people will be doing that on frozen waterfalls. Depending on the freeze and thaw patterns of the waterfall, people will be climbing vertically with differing degrees.

  • Information: Mixed climbing consists of climbing rocks and ice at the same time. This means that people willing to do so must have the equipment for both climbing types. They should also possess the knowledge and skill required.

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What Skills Ice Climbers Must Possess To Practice The Sport

To be able to practice ice climbing correctly, one must know how to climb. It’s not an easy process, and it needs practice and honing to become more efficient, faster, and more robust when moving up on the ice. It is essential to use ice axes and crampons when practicing the sport. Moreover, ice climbers need to know how to place their gear, such as the ice screw with the draw and rope.

Additionally, climbers must possess anchor and belaying skills, which keeps the climber safe by knowing how to control the rope. Abseiling or rappelling are other skills that ice climbers must have. People should know that ice climbing requires experience, and they must embrace the cold when deciding to practice this sport. This is why it’s recommended to be comfortable with wildly cold weather and have basic snow survival skills.

Those Are The Best Places To Practice Ice Climbing

People who are interested in practicing ice climbing can head to several areas of this world. For instance, Tirol in Austria is known for its icefalls and glaciers in several places. Those include Imst, Innsbruck, Kaunertal Valley, Ötztal Valley, Paznaum in Ischgl, Pitztal Valley, Tannheimer Tal Valley and Tiroler Zugspitz Arena.

Another region where ice climbing is prevalent is Yamnuska in Canada. The latter is suitable for all skill levels, and it’s a perfect spot for people to practice ice climbing. People can enjoy several adventures there, including mixed climbing, backcountry skiing, avalanche training and trekking, and more.

In the Southern French Alps, the Aiguille Falls and Ceillac Falls at Queyras are perfect for ice climbing. Other areas in France include Briançon, Freissinières, and L’argentière-la-Bessée. Moreover, the Colorado Mountain School in the United States has many alpine regions where ice climbing courses are offered. Those courses can also be attended in Nepal and India.

  • Cost: Ice climbing is not so cheap due to the high cost of renting equipment. For instance, renting gear costs around $30 per day, or $1500 at least to purchase a basic setup. Moreover, ice climbing involves high transportation costs and the need to hire guides.

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