Ice climbing is a technical sport that appeals to rock climbers seeking a new challenge, as well as to mountaineers and winter climbers: knowing how to ascend a vertical or near-vertical cliff that is covered in ice is an essential skill for advanced mountaineers.
Frozen waterfalls, ice-glazed rocks or cliffs, glaciers - in fact practically any ice-covered (or solid ice) incline, are all there to be climbed. Crampons and ice axes are used, and some climbs are protected with custom-made ice screws.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Organised ice climbing trips are typically two or three days in duration, although there are a few longer itineraries available as well as short day-trips. Numerous companies offer introductory and improver courses, usually forming part of a broader 'winter skills' package: these can range beween 2-7 days, or can be tailor-made to suit your requirements.
You'll need to bring your own clothing and basic equipment, but the organisers will provide all the communal gear including ropes etc. Each individual company will have its own policy but a full kit list will be provided
WHERE TO GO
Prime ice climbing destinations include the Scottish Highlands, various parts of the Alps, Norway and Iceland. Further afield, the Franz-Josef glacier in New Zealand's South Island, and the Rocky Mountains have a well established ice climbing tradition.
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