“I hope you know after we move, I’m going to get into ice climbing.”
I distinctly remember saying that to my wife weeks before we relocated to Denver. She might claim she doesn’t remember…but I’m not buying it.
After we moved in June, narrowly avoiding the start of the Phoenix summer, I was like a kid in a candy store. In the first three months I had been climbing on Lumpy Ridge (destroyed by a 10c), Eldo (had a blast on the Bastille Crack), bagged 6-14ers, and dulled my crampons and ice axes doing multiple snow climbs.
The entire time, however, I was waiting for winter…and ice. I already owned the ‘Freedom of the Hills’ (I’m old school…4th edition) and had recently purchased Will Gadd’s ‘Ice and Mixed Climbing’ book, but something about strapping knives to your hands and feet and swinging them at brittle material made me think twice about trying to figure it out on my own.
When I finally saw ice climbing classes start to show up on the CMC website I cleared out my schedule. The picture below is from my Ice Climbing Clinic, taught by Kent Crites.
I thought of a lot of things on the week leading up to my first field day:
Would general crampons (horizontal front points) work for ice climbing?
What kind of gloves should I bring?
Which would give out first…my hands or legs?
Why did I volunteer to bring a stove (I had to put a bit of work to get it somewhat operational)?
Will this be fun…or “fun”?