Ice Climbing is the logical pastime for a rock climber seeking an adrenalin rush in the winter.
As a progression of mountaineering skills, you may want to learn to climb vertical ice, but I suggest that you try climbing a few 45-degree, snow-covered mountains first.
Get used to the cold vertical world and see if it's for you. Learn the basic skills involved in winter mountaineering. Start small, and easy, and work your way up!
Mountaineering is the age-old activity of climbing up the steep slopes of a mountainside in hopes of reaching the summit.
Mountain climbing encompasses numerous activities including snow, ice, and rock climbing as well as backpacking and snow camping. Oh, and the most important part: You may (one time only!) experience FALLING TO YOUR DEATH!
Basic mountaineering generally entails climbing steep snow slopes with the aid of crampons and an ice axe. And/or as most of our mountaineering trips go, a climbing harness, good boots and ropes.
A majority of introductory mountaineering is comprised mostly of hiking. This is one reason why many people start with mountaineering. It seems less intimidating than climbing vertical rock, or ice walls. The difficulties of mountaineering lie not only in the distance covered and elevation gained, but in the environmental conditions encountered.
A single day of mountaineering can include subzero temperatures to extreme highs. Because the elements can turn a moderate slope into a great challenge, prudent decision making skills and the proper gear is needed. Ropes and other technical climbing equipment are required once the slope angle and potential for a fall or slide increases.
Many people begin mountaineering to add a little adventure to their modern day lives in a culture obsessed with safety. The rewards of climbing a mountain are many, and for this reason, some people dedicate their lives to the pursuit of taller and more difficult peaks. Many in this area climb northern New York as "peak baggers", that is, bagging numerous "peaks", mostly in the Adirondack and Catskill mountains.
Ice climbing is an offshoot of mountain and/or rock climbing. Climbing ice started in the early days of mountain climbing as climbers encountered the hard water ice in the gullies and faces of their lofty objectives. The techniques and the tools of the trade evolved with the difficulty of the ice attempted. The sport of climbing frozen waterfalls blossomed with the advent of the modern ice tool designed by Evon Chouinard in the early 1970's.
Here in Western Pennsylvania and Western New York, we are blessed with numerous places to learn the basics of Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, and Ice Climbing.
While we do not have major mountains, we do have some very scenic, and challenging climbs.
Sunday February 4th, 2006
On Sunday Feb 4th a few members of our group met up with Dan W from Jamestown and Bob from Buffalo to do some ice climbing.
It was VERY COLD! It was 3 below zero when we left Bradford (8:30 in the morning) and only 3 degrees when we set up to climb.
Dan lead climbed up to the top to put an anchor around a large tree so the rest could climb with two safety ropes and a belay.
Dan and Bob, both experienced climbers, gave Mary and I a quick climbing lesson.
Mary tried the climb, while I chose to keep my feet on the road! (as usual!)
Here are some pics from my camera and Dans!
Bob at the base of the climb
Also see our mountaineering trip to Knife Edge Ridge- Zoar Valley
Here are more ice climbing photos of some local guys in a secret location.