It might not be the most popular type of sport, but there is no doubt that ice climbing is one of the biggest activities to shed adrenaline. Designed only for those who have nerves of steel, ice climbing is exactly for those people who have no fear and want to experience earth’s greats from ridiculous heights.
Ice climbing is exactly what it says on the tin and involves individuals clambering up icy landscapes. As you may expect, most of the time they are secured by countless safety devices and this means it’s possible to embark up icefalls, waterfalls or simple cliffs.
There are various forms of ice climbing with the main two involving alpine ice and water ice. The former of the two is completely frozen, whereas there is more liquid water prevalent in water ice and this means that it must be approached a lot differently. In general, most experts stipulate that alpine ice is slightly easier to negotiate, but one must possess vast technical knowledge of the sport in order to overcome water ice.
Best places to visit for ice climbing
Unsurprisingly, it’s all of the world’s coldest places that are the best when it comes to ice climbing. Alaska is a known favourite, with the area of Valdez proving popular due to the huge number of climbs that are available. However, America also has plenty of other destinations with California being frequently visited, while Colorado always attracts plenty of visitors. In relation to the latter, the Ouray region is said to be one of the best in the world and this is highlighted as it hosts the Ouray Ice Festival.
The indoor version of the sport
Of course, while the previous paragraph focussed on the US, there are also many destinations that people visit throughout the UK. When the weather is not suitable, some individuals take to indoor centres which are becoming more and more popular. Vertical Chill, in Castleford, is said to be one of the best, while there are others situated in the likes of Kinlochleven and London.
Of course, the indoor version of the sport is nothing like the real thing and some experts would not consider taking up such an experience. Nevertheless, it is safer, while such centres can be accessed all year round if your region doesn’t always receive freezing cold weather.
The ice climbing horror stories
Unfortunately, although perhaps unsurprisingly, there are a huge number of dangers associated with ice climbing. Such dangers have prompted a lot of deaths within the sport and it’s not just the inexperienced that have been affected, with some of the most seasoned experts within the field also falling to their death.
The dangers posed with ice climbing were highlighted at the start of 2012, after one of the most revered athletes in the sport died in a 60ft fall in Colorado. 58-year-old Jack Roberts was the individual in question and despite winning various awards for his climbing in the past, he died of a heart attack following the tragic fall.
Unfortunately, that is not the only case and a climbing instructor was the victim of such a fall back in 2010. Dave Church did not survive after falling 75ft in Cumbria and his case was not aided by the fact that his climbing partner was unable to obtain any sort of help due to their precarious location.
Bearing these tragedies in mind, it’s clear to see that there are so many dangers linked with the sport and if you do happen to suffer an accident, you have a lot of variables working against you.
A summary on ice climbing
Ice climbing is regarded as one of the most adrenaline filled sports on the planet and this is why it attracts so many keen athletes. Of course, while the sport can be breath-taking, there are an incredible number of risks associated with it and one should plan their excursion very carefully before embarking on a serious ice climbing expedition.
Liam is a keen sports writer who blogs on many sports including rugby, boxing and martial arts, all extreme sports in their own way. He also likes to recommend the odd betting offer as a wager on a football match makes it that bit more exciting.