Catskills, New York
Just I was beginning to be comfortable with rock climbing, came another shocker.
And I thought I'd already 'seen' most of winter outdoor activities. Well, not quite;
last Wednesday (What a day to start the New Year!:-)), I joined another one of my
husband's outdoor adventures- climbing frozen waterfalls. Ice climbing is what
I thought it was-challenging, extreme, and yet exciting.
The climb site was in the Catskills, about an hour and a half drive from New
Paltz. There was a team of four; us and a couple of experienced climbers and
kayakers. We did a little bit of hiking up before the ice wall.
In ice climbing, proper footwear-rigid crampons is a must. You'll need mono- or
dual-point crampons; the former is better set for ice climbing. My husband and I had
the latter pair, but they still held well on the hard ice.
Ice climbing is much more strenuous than rock climbing. It needs different
techniques in hand- and- foot management. Additionally, one has to consider the cold
climate, particularly when belaying. You need to have proper insulation and
enough layers to keep you warm. Water repellant clothing is good to wear. On
our way back, we glissaded and our water-proof pants were very useful.
Self assessing, ice climbing is, without a doubt, too extreme for me, but
I'm still willing to learn and experience more of its angles. I just need to rewind
my good common sense and avoid the errors I made like:
1. Kicking the ice too many times.
2. Placing both ice axes side by side instead of staggering them; one must be higher than
3. Hitting the ice close to the rope.
I wanted to try the ice wall, but I had my limit for the day; ended up
climbing the lower bulges to practice handling the ice axes and kicking in my crampons.
Not being able to climb the vertical ice surface challenges me more to try
next time; being with patient climbers helps. The trip to the Catskills was another
Already looking forward to the next climb, "Yikes!:-)"
January 3, 2003