Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Ice Climbing


by Ashley Barnard


Ice climbing is not for the faint at heart. This exhilarating and dangerous sport takes participants into some of nature’s fiercest and most beautiful elements and requires strength, stamina and the willingness to stay outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.

Many ice climbers describe the experience as electrifying and exhilarating. The danger involved in scaling vertical cascades of ice can create an amazing adrenaline rush, and reaching the top of a difficult and steep ice or snow formation can leave a climber with a tremendous sense of personal achievement. Ice climbing often is done in a surreal ice world of frozen waterfalls, huge icicles and compacted snow slides.

Ice climbers, even those one-day experimenters, need to have a basic level of physical fitness. Ice climbing requires brute force and good technique, as climbers uses ice picks and crampons, which are sharp steel claws that attach to boots, to make their way up the ice. Many climbing schools offer one-day excursions that usually involve shorter climbs up a gentle slope. Experienced climbers, however, will ascend vertical and sometimes overhanging ice walls, which requires excellent physical conditioning, stamina, courage and technique.

Ice climbing can be done on all levels, from one-day climbs to a lifetime pursuit. For those who want a one-time thrill, it is recommended that they hire a guide or take a class on the basics, then go with more experienced climbers. Climbing schools offer one-day classes, but it is recommended that beginners take two- or three-day classes so that they can spend adequate time learning climbing techniques before attempting a climb. Classes and guides can cost several hundred dollars, and they are offered at many popular ice-climbing sites. Rock climbing experience is helpful, but some short ice-climbing excursions will take people with no experience.

For those who are serious about the sport, then you can read more about it at Cold Ice climbing can be an expensive investment. Serious climbers not only travel to places to climb, but they also need to buy the basic equipment of crampons, boots, ice axes, belaying devices, ice screws and a helmet. Ice climbers also need warm clothing that will keep them comfortable in extremely cold weather.

Ice climbing offers athletes the opportunity to continually challenge their physical fitness. The growing popularity of the ice climbing, including the proliferation of manmade ice formations that has brought the sport closer to home for many, has made ice climbing more accessible to more people. For those who are daredevils at heart and love a never-ending challenge, ice climbing can open the doors to satisfying and thrilling outdoor adventures.

Ashley Barnard is an experienced ice climber, and has been ice climbing around the world for the past 15 years, his resent ventures have taken him into the artic to find more exposed icy locations for ever looking for that ultimate ice climb Cold