Give Ice Climbing A Try?

Give Ice Climbing A Try?

Winter is here for much of us in the U.S. which means limited options for climbing outside.  Most of us turn to the gym to prepare for the coming spring thaw.  That’s a fine plan.  It’s what I’m doing.  But what if I told you there was this whole other world of climbing, ice climbing, where people seem to enjoy climbing their way up frozen water in the frigid winter air.  Is that something you might be interested in trying?

My first inclination when presented with a similar question was a resounding NO.  Ice climbing combines three of the things in life that I like least, namely being cold, being wet and being absurdly pumped.  However, I gave the sport a try a couple of years ago and then again once last year.  You know what?  There was something strangely enjoyable about the whole process, and both Mrs. Narc and I found that we enjoyed our brief attempts at ice climbing quite a bit.  Am I about to run out and buy boots, crampons and tools to make ice climbing my winter activity?  Not quite, but I still had fun trying it.

This is where ice climbing festivals come in.  Held throughout the country during the cold winter months, ice climbing festivals, even more so than rock climbing festivals, are a great way to try the sport out with little or no commitment.  Many events have demo gear from sponsors you can try out without having to make a huge initial investment.

One such festival of local note here in WI is the upcoming Ice Pit Festival held at the Ice Pit near Green Bay on January 15-16.  For a mere $10 per day you can give ice climbing a try with a really psyched and supportive group of local climbers.  If you’re around I strongly encourage you to make the trip up and try it out.  Who knows, you may even like it!

Rock and Ice has an article on their website which lists a few other ice festivals going on around the country.  Check it out and get out and give ice climbing a try…then get back in the ROCK gym to get ready for spring!

Update:  Via Justin at Petzl is this more comprehensive list of upcoming ice climbing events around the country

Posted In: Ice Climbing

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14 Responses to Give Ice Climbing A Try?

  1. Egghead January 6, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    I’m with you. Purely a fair weather climber. Also, there is something about falling with sharp objects with which to impale oneself is not that appearing either.

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  2. Justin Roth January 6, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    Well said, Narc.

    For your readers, there’s a longer list of ice festivals around the country on the Petzl website. Petzl will be attending all of these events in some capacity or other, whether with direct representation — like a booth — or with a set of demo tools to check out:

    http://www.petzl.com/us/page/ice-climbing-events-featuring-new-petzl-charlet-ice-tools

    Stay warm out there!

    - Justin

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  3. pauly January 6, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    Glad u guys enjoy the ice…not my thing tho…

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  4. SP January 6, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    Ice climbing is definitely something everyone should try at least once – thanks Narc.

    As far as I’m aware it’s the only form of climbing where a first day beginner can get up world-class difficulty on top rope, while it could take a dedicated athlete years to lead an identical line. Yet another reason to give it a try!

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  5. choss master January 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    Ouray is worth going to just for the parties.

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  6. Tony January 6, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    Are you going to the ice fest this year narc?

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    • Narc January 6, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

      That’s the plan as of right now

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  7. Zach January 6, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

    Dude … forget snow & ice. Come back down south. Finish “The Flow” :P

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    • Narc January 7, 2011 at 6:13 am #

      Ugh…

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  8. Rhoads January 12, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    Ice is nice. Try dry tooling, INSANE workout!

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    • Narc January 13, 2011 at 7:50 am #

      Tried that a bit at the Pit last year. Pretty fun, especially on choss!

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