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Article on Ice Climbing



Ice Climbing is another form of Rock Climbing, as challenging and exciting but with the added elements of cold and ice. People who are looking for a different style of climbing and are not contented with simply walking in the mountains during winter would want to try the exciting and exhilarating sport of Ice Climbing.

Ice Climbing is an outdoor activity wherein one climbs ice formations such as ice falls and frozen waterfalls. Different pieces of equipment can be used and various techniques can be done by the climber, depending on the slope and texture of ice.

There are two major types of Ice Climbing. One includes climbing flowing water that is frozen, such as waterfalls. The other involves climbing steep, compact snow, and ice typically found high on a mountain.

Ice Climbing began in the early days of mountain climbing when climbers came across hard water ice in the gullies and faces of the terrain. As years progressed, techniques were developed and the climbs attempted became more and more difficult. Consequently, different tools and devices were made and improved to meet the demands of the growing population of ice climbers.

With enough knowledge and preparation, the efficient use of various ice tools will enable you to climb vertical ice. Ice Axes and Crampons are the main tools used in this sport. Though the pieces of equipment used in Ice Climbing and Rock Climbing are almost the same, the medium to be climbed is a very different. While the quality of rock varies little over the year, ice, on the other hand, changes its form on a daily, even hourly basis.

This site is all about Ice Climbing. It covers an extensive range of information about the different essentials of the activity such as training, rules and etiquette, techniques and moves. This site also has a special section on the different pieces of Ice Climbing Gear and Equipment and apparel, as well as guidelines and precautionary measures.

Keep in mind that it is essential to have the right pieces of gear and adequate knowledge of the different techniques used in climbing. Like any other extreme sport, climbers need to be aware of the risks associated with Ice Climbing. Though this may be the case, don’t let these dangers prevent you from enjoying the amazing experience of climbing upon the frozen terrain. With enough knowledge, training, and the right mental attitude, you’re on your way to a cool climbing experience.


Ice Climbing is an offshoot of European mountaineering during the 19th century. It is one of the many disciplines that branched out of Mountaineering like Rock Climbing.

There were two modifications that revolutionized Ice Climbing: (1) the invention and variation of Crampon and (2) development of climbing tools. These two instances have paved the way for the improvement of Ice Climbing both as a sport and leisure activity.

In 1908, British climber Oscar Eckenstein invented a crampon which is characterized by toothed claws attached to Mountaineering Boots. Eckenstein's crampon was a major improvement since it got rid of step-cutting on ice which makes Mountaineering and winter climbing dragging.

Twenty two years later, Laurent Grivel modified the existing crampon by putting protruding front points which allow steeper Ice Climbing and faster ascents. This also led to more challenging climbing routes. The front points designed by Grivel replaced the need for doing chop steps.

Modern ice axes or tools were not developed until the 1960s by the Americans. Yvon Chouinard experimented with axes in Europe in 1966. Together with a friend, they persuaded Charlet, a French equipment company, to lessen the length of Mountaineering ice axes to 55 centimeters and overturn the curve of the pick.

Because of the significant modifications in Mountaineering ice axes and crampons, Ice Climbing became quite easy and allowed steeper climbs. Vertical Ice Climbing today has come a long way, and modifications of the climbing tools defined its history.


From being an offshoot of Mountaineering during the 19th century, Ice Climbing has become one of the most popular and exciting extreme winter sport activities. Nowadays, more and more people are engrossed with Ice Climbing. Moreover, it continuously increases in popularity despite the extreme difficulties one would encounter in ice climbs. There are various reasons that push individuals to pursue this challenging sport. In this section, learn why people enjoy Ice Climbing and know what this sport has to offer you:

  • It provides a means to explore places where few people have been to and would even dare to go. Climbers are drawn by relatively untouched regions which provide stunning sceneries. Moreover, there are countless challenging vertical ice walls one can choose from.


  • It is an exercise outlet during winter season. This sport can help in toning muscles and improving balance, endurance, and flexibility from climbing approach walls. This is also fit for those thrill-seekers who are looking for an extreme sport to do during winter.


  • This physically- and mentally-challenging sport gives a different sense of accomplishment. Physical limits are pushed to the extreme while one's climbing skills and techniques are tested.


  • It is a social activity that draws groups of climbers into one climb or snow expedition. Needless to say, camaraderie among Ice climbers is developed.


  • It gives you an opportunity to see the world in a unique perspective. Though it takes hard work and a lot of preparation, you will be able to see sights from a different point of view. In addition, reaching the top of a climb is an unexplainable feeling.

Every beginner of this sport has his or her own set of reasons why he or she pursues climbing vertical walls of ice. Some take ice climbs because of the challenge that comes with it while others do it because they want to do something different, an activity that will push oneself to the limit. Whatever the reason may be, it only goes to show that you would never run out of reasons to pursue this thrilling sport.


"I think I've screwed up if I go into the outdoors without one," says Jim Doenges, an ice climber from Littleton, who is leading a 10-member expedition to Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America.

He is not referring to any of the essential pieces of climbing gear and safety equipment. He is but referring to the bible. Doenges, together with his team members, are all members of an organization called Climbing for Christ. Eight of them have already reached the summit last Saturday, and they are already on their way down on Monday.

"First is to share the love of God with other climbers, second is to practice environmental stewardship, and third is to stand on the highest point in North America," Doenges said about their reason for climbing the mountain. Standing at 20,320 feet, the mountain poses many challenges. Last May 20, Kevin Sellers, a team mate, has developed high altitude sickness. "Jesus have mercy," a team member said. "Our team has a ministry of comfort and peace in the midst of grief."