ice surface John's experienced climbing partners from Sunday adventure Trying the small bulges below the ice wall By the ice wall





Ice Wall
Ice wall in Deep Notch, Catskills



the ice wall

Bringing up another belay rope





Climbing the ice wall


Beginning Ice Climbing

Deep Notch
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 the other.
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 exploratory experience.

Already looking forward to the next climb, "Yikes!:-)"

January 3, 2003


Ice climbing tools and gears

Ice axes
Belaying devices

Recommended reading:
How to Ice Climb!
How to Ice Climb!

* Check out other web sites for more information about ice climbing and tools.

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