Two weeks ago, we had a stretch of frigid weather here, and I was lucky enough to go ice climbing. It wasn’t a large or pretty pitch, just 12-15ft. But then again, our climbing wasn’t large or pretty either. We each did 3 successful attempts, although belaying was more of a challenge as we had to set up a top belay and lower ourselves down due to the unfrozen water at the base. My belayer slipped on some ice while lowering me, causing me to drop and fall 6 ft. Luckily, I still had another 2 feet of clearance before hitting the water.
Ice climbing is very different than rock climbing. You rely more on raw strength, whereas in rock climbing it’s technique in holding the rock. The ice tool becomes an extension of your hand as you climb. I’m not a great rock climber, mostly because I don’t have the build for the sport (I’m not hardcore enough to give up beer and fast food). Ice climbing on the other hand, is more based on pick placement and strength to hold the axe, not hold yourself to the rock.
It’s starting to snow again. Hopefully the cold weather will return and the fall will freeze again. I can’t wait to get out there and give it another go.