If ice climbing is your kind of sport, you should definitely be aware of all its risks. Still, potential dangers can be avoided as long as you comply with certain rules and guidelines. For example, a very important aspect that you should consider before going on an ice climbing trip is what to pack. Here are some useful gear and tools that you will need in your adventure.
What to Pack for an Ice Climbing Adventure
A. Ice Climbing Clothes & Accessories
Boots are an essential element for ice climbers. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need multiple pairs of socks to keep you warm, as long as you pick the right boots. Specially-made ice boots are made of leather or even plastic. They have a flat sole to which you can attach crampons.
Ice shoes must have a certain level of rigidity which comes in handy when you climb with your crampons’ front points. As you can see, each detail counts when it comes to choosing the right kind of clothing and gear.
Your head should always be protected while you are on your adventure trip. Still, you should also wear a warm winter hat underneath your helmet, to keep you warm. Out there, on the mountain, there is the risk of ice chunks or heavy snow falling from above. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to keep a protection helmet on your head at all times.
#3. Ice Climbing Backpack
A good spacious ice climbing backpack is more than a storage unit. The best packs have additional straps on the outside so that you can attach your climbing tools. Moreover, you should purchase one made from a durable material. Test it before buying it, to see how comfortable you feel carrying it on your back.
#4. Waterproof Clothing Layers
All climbers should wear both top and bottom clothing layers. First of all, you need a long underwear made of merino wool or even a synthetic material. Then, you should add an insulating layer such as a thin down jacket. If you also have a puffy coat, you should bring it with you.
In most cases, the best option of a top outer layer is a ski jacket which is waterproof. Layering is the secret to staying warm. Keep in mind that you should never pick cotton as ice climbing clothing material. Waterproof ski pants are also a must, but don’t forget about the insulating layer.
B. Ice Climbing Gear
When it comes to carabiners, there are plenty of options to choose from. Make sure you select the proper type, depending on its purpose as well as limitations. Also, you should be aware of the fact that you will usually need more than just one type of carabiners.
You should always have a couple of locking carabiners and match them with your belay device. Investing in a high-quality sling to attach it to your harness is also a great idea that keeps you on the safe side.
This specific ice climbing tool has the main purpose of allowing ropes to swing freely through your equipment’s bolt anchors while leading. Moreover, quickdraws guide ropes around obstacles. They are usually made of two different types of carabiners. They are attached to a piece of webbing. As a climber, you should always bring at least six quickdraws. However, the number of tools depends a lot of your route.
There are two different types of ropes that you will need on your trip. Static ropes are only a bit stretchy while dynamic ones are somewhat elastic and more flexible. They are made this way due to their different purposes. Static ropes are great for rappelling while dynamic ones are used to brake a fall in order to prevent injuries. Moreover, dynamic ropes are the perfect match of ascents.
#4. Harness & Crampons
We recommend you pick a less bulky harness which will be more comfortable. This is important because you will already have to carry a lot of weight from your backpack and your winter clothing. Also, you should always purchase ice climbing specialized harness that will fit perfectly over your bulky outfit.
Crampons are those metal spikes attached to your boots. Most ice climbing professionals and enthusiasts prefer more rigid crampons with ten or 12 points. These are some of the most important tools of a well-prepared climber.
#5. Ice Axes
Ice axes will help you get up a cliff much quicker and with better precision. You can buy them along with other useful tools such as hammers and picks. All these will support your ascension. Make sure to choose the right one for your needs, because there are a lot of different models with a wide range of materials and grips out there.
Ice climbing can be a lot of fun but also quite dangerous if you aren’t prepared and properly equipped. This is why we wanted to help you by providing a list of all the necessary clothing items as well as essential tools and gear. Have fun and be safe!