All about Ice Climbing
Ice climbing is the act of climbing frozen waterfalls or other reasonably vertical ice formations using ice axes and crampons. A harness, helmet and rope are used for safety with ice screws and traditional climbing equipment used to secure belays.
If you are looking for a physical, technical and mental challenge, ice climbing is for you! Hanging by the tip of an ice axe, half way up a temporary ice fall that can change it's consistency hourly is not for everyone!
But there's definitely something addictive about it - the burn in your muscles, the sensation of a good ice-axe placement, the achievement of reaching the top... and the sheer magic of being in an otherwise totally inaccessible place among breathtaking scenery.
Ice Climbing Grades:
Ice climbing routes, like climbing and mountaineering are graded according to difficulty. Each route is given a grade for technical difficulty as well as a general overall 'umph' grade.
Grades can change on the same ice fall over the course of the season due to the quality of the ice and how it is formed.
The technical grades go from 1 to 7 and general grades go from I to VIII. Most people can manage to climb up to grade 3 II and 4 III with a little practice and tuition. Grades 5 IV and above are really for the experts!
As ice falls are constantly changing and can be dangerous, it is highly recommended to use a fully qualified local guide who knows the local conditions, even if you are an experienced climber.