Win this winter with our Top Tips for Ice Climbing!
Our Instructors love to get up close with the Ice sheets covering the mountains at this time of year, so we thought we would share their top tips for a successful day of Ice Climbing and hopefully you will be as hyped as they are to get out there!
I hate to be Captain Obvious, but Keep Warm! – Because of the intensity of the walking and climbing you won’t want to be drowned in layers and layers of clothing, so our advice would be a base layer, fleece and thin ‘shell’ on top. However, you’ll probably start to feel the cold when you belay. At this point, an insulated jacket, down or synthetic filled and big enough to fit over the rest of your clothing will be ideal! Jelly sweeties are also a great source of instant energy to keep your sugar levels up which will help you keep warm too. This is not a myth we have made up because we enjoy them, it really does work, honest!
Keep Drinking – I’m the worst for drinking water when I’m cold, all I ever want is a cup of tea! So your best bet is to grab yourself a thermos flask and fill it up with boiling hot juice. These will generally keep warm for a good few hours in your rucksack, which means you’ll have something on hand to warm your belly when you need to!
Gloves and Boots – It is a well-known fact that hands and feet can often be the hardest parts of your body to keep warm. So, to avoid a terrible mood from ruining your day when you get cold, make sure you have plenty of spare gloves with you. A few pairs of liner gloves and an extra pair of thicker gloves should do the trick, for when the first pair get a bit damp! It’s also important to wear a pair of boots that fit you properly, so go get them fitted and try out a few pairs to find which are best for you! Also, don’t wear multiple pairs of thick socks, cramped toes=cold toes, so 1 liner pair and 1 thicker pair, or even just the thick pair, should do the trick!
Dance, Dance, Dance – As prepared as you may be, belaying can still be a cold job. So, have a boogie, stomp your feet, wiggle your hips and keep moving! But please please PLEASE, keep your anchors tight and pay attention to your partner who is relying on you!
Don’t forget the basics – Keep in mind some of the top tips and techniques you have learnt from Rock Climbing because these will really help you on your way. A well-balanced stance and engaging your hips, knees and ankles will allow you to secure strong legs so you don’t have to hang off your arms!
Mother Nature is your boss – And she can be really mean if she wants too! It’s really important to understand the conditions you’re climbing in. I don’t want to put a dampener on things, but avalanches do happen. The conditions are everything and can make a difference of several grades, so ensure you match your route to the climbing conditions and do your research before you go out, so you can have a day you’ll never forget for all the RIGHT reasons!
Take a map and compass! - Before you even consider going Ice Climbing you should ensure that you are able to use both to a very high level. Getting yourself back to the car before dark is really important so make sure you use both and ensure you know your grid references of where you will be climbing in case you need to guide someone to you!
Take your camera! Ice Climbing can provide some of the most beautiful backdrops that will give you top bragging rights, so take a waterproof camera in a pocket so you can easily grab it out when the light hits the ice in just the right way! Note also – 2 of our Instructors have just won competitions for photos they have taken whilst out Climbing, just saying….