Ice climbers face many challenges when ascending an ice formation. From sub-zero temperatures, falling ice, and sharp tools: the possibility of injury seems endless. Luckily, with proper training, mentorship and preparation these can all be avoided or mitigated to ensure you are safe. Though ice climbing is considered an extreme sport, it is actually quite safe, given that you take the proper steps in training and preparation before ascending more difficult courses.
One of the biggest challenges faced by ice climbers is the sub-zero temperatures. If you do not layer your clothing properly the cost could be great. When ice climbing you are exposed to the elements. One way to prevent the cold from getting to you is through layering your clothes properly. Firstly, make sure your base layer is comfortable and wicks away moisture quickly. Secondly, your mid layer must be able to trap warmth from within. Thirdly, the insulation layer should help keep the warmth inside your garments. And lastly, our outer layer should be durable, waterproof and windproof. All this will help guard against the cold temperatures keeping you from getting hypothermia.
Falling ice is another challenge is commonly faced by ice climbers. As you ascend it is inevitable that ice will fall should you place your ice ax in the wrong place. However, this can be mitigated through proper training and guidance from certified mentors and lead climbers who have had ample experience in ice climbing.
Most ice climbing equipment entails sharp blades and edges that help you grip onto the ice. When falls or slippage occurs these sharp objects can fatally harm or injure you. Again, this can be prevented with proper training and mentorship. Always make sure to know your limits when it comes to ice climbing. It’s best to start with simpler climbs and gradually move to more difficult ones. This way, you can build your metal and physical strength to prepare you once you are ready to tackle harder routes. By gradually moving up levels of ice climbing, you can lessen or altogether prevent fatal falls that could cause harm via your climbing equipment.
Accomplishment and Reward
Despite all these challenges ice climbers face, they continue to climb because of the wonderful thrill they get while ascending an ice formation. Additionally, the feeling of accomplishment that overwhelms you once you reach the top is a rewarding one. To bask in the beautiful views that surround you and knowing what it took to get there is enough to have you climbing ice formations over and over again. Ice climbers tend to find fulfillment in ice climbing that they cannot get anywhere else and some have even become addicted to the sport. Year after year ice climbers take to the formations looking for more challenging terrains to test their skills and abilities in order to find that thrill that comes with ascending an ice formation. Simply put, the risks are great but the rewards are greater.