Ice Climbing as a Hobby
There are many different hobbies we can enjoy in life, and ice climbing is one of them. If you are considering taking up something entirely new and daring , then ice climbing as a hobby might be just the ticket to bring some exercise, fun, and adventure into your life. Before you ascend those first ice formations, here are some things you might want to know about ice climbing as a hobby.
Ice Climbing as a Hobby -What Is It?
As the name implies, ice climbing is the ascend of inclined ice formations. Examples of these formations are frozen waterfalls, cliffs, and refrozen ice rock slabs. There are two different types of ice in this hobby; water ice and alpine ice.
Alpine ice is located in mountainous environments, and many times it may require a unique approach to reach the climb location. Water ice is found beneath water flows, such as on cliffs. Alpine ice is created by frozen precipitation. Water ice is the frozen form of a flow of water.
Ice Climbing as a Hobby – Know the Basics
Equipment chosen for ice climbing is based on the texture of the ice and the specific slope. Hiking or mountain boots are fine for flat ice surfaces, but for ice climbing as a hobby, you’ll need stiff leather or double plastic mountain boots that have crampon compatibility and the ability to provide ankle support.
On slopes at low angles, an ice axe is typically used to chop “steps.” Steeper and longer distances slopes require crampons (traction devices) for safety. Vertical ice climbing requires ice axes and crampons. Climbers use their legs via kicking movements to engage the crampons into the icy surface. Next they swing the axe over their head. This is referred to as front pointing.
When there are multiple climbers, the leader will use ice screws as a protective measure. Most diehard ice climbing enthusiasts only consider vertical ice climbs true ice climbing, referring to the low slope climbing as winter mountaineering.
Ice Climbing as a Hobby – Techniques to Know
Many of the techniques and terms used in ice climbing are similar to those used in rock climbing, and every beginner needs to familiarize themselves with some basic ones before their first climb. They should be knowledgeable of rope systems, leading, belaying, lowering, abseiling, and tying in.
Ice Climbing as a Hobby – Safety Precautions
Many people think it is contradictory to use the word ice climbing and safety in the same sentence, but that can be said about many other hobbies as well.
Main safety precautions include:
* Learn the basic techniques and skills before you climb
* Know your equipment and how to use it properly
* Know what injuries can occur and how to treat them
* Dress properly for the hobby (layered clothing, gloves, helmets, boots)
* Be prepared for the worst, including avalanches, falling ice or rocks, and crevasses
* Always carry appropriate first aid equipment and know emergency preparedness (making a splint, applying a tourniquet, dealing with frostbite)
* Take a handheld GPS device along
* Have signaling equipment such as beacons and flares
* Always carry a shovel designed for snow and ice
Again, every sport has its safety precautions and equipment needs, including ice climbing. If you want to enjoy ice climbing as a hobby, take time to learn what you need to know before you hit the ice, always do a checklist of equipment you should have, follow proper safety precautions, and have fun!