Discover the secret world of frozen ice falls. Challenge yourself vertically, physically and mentally on one of our ice climbing weekends or courses or try it as part of a winter activity holiday.
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.
How to Get Started:
As the guide ratio for ice climbing is quite low, it is easy to split into ability level groups so you don't need to worry too much about how good you are! The guides can adapt to you!
Or, if you just want to have a taste of an ice climbing adventure along with other winter activities, you can choose ice climbing as part of a winter activity holiday or ski adventure holiday as a one off experience.
The best time of year for ice climbing is late December, January and February in the Alps.