Of Ice and Men

Sorry for the pun, but I had to if I wanted to talk about ice climbing. Ice climbing is truly an amazing sport that last winter I got to experience and I have to say that I think I’m hooked. With all the specific ice climbing equipment necessary, it’s a sport that doesn’t come cheaply. While there is some areas of possibly overlap—ski boots and sometimes be used as climbing boots, for example—there is a lot of unique equipment that needs to be obtained before one can properly ice climb.

In my case, I went ice climbing with a friend and a group of acquaintance from the local climbing club. As is often the case in outdoor sports clubs a lot of the more experienced and seasoned climbers had surplus equipment so I didn’t have to worry too much about buying or hiring equipment (that I might not have even known about if I did it myself). After my first experience I told some of the people that I was ready to do it again sometime soon and would even consider buying some of my own kit.

There was a local sporting supply shop, they told me, that worked with the climber’s club (providing space for meetings and allowing them to post events on the shops message board) and assured me that that sort of social organisation was common among climbers. They would often hold events such as ‘slideshows’ where climbers could show photos from their climbing trips abroad and there was plenty of time for Q&A afterwards.

I tried it a few more that season and although I was sore and a bit bruised after seemingly every foray to frozen walls, the sport had a hold over me. With a little bit of luck the climbing club is going this winter to the French Alps to do some ice climbing for a week and I’m hoping to join them. Unfortunately there’s not too much ice climbing to be found in the UK, but then again I’ve always been drawn towards sports that require to travel a bit and see the world.

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