/ Ice Climbing

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BnB - on 22 Oct 2013
Popped into my local ice climbing wall (well, er, iced lift shaft) on Deansgate (Manchester) today. At the outset, I confess to having been a little intimidated. It's been a while. After a few warm-ups, however, my pal and I were daring eachother to confront the overhang, attempting to tiptoe nimbly up the pillars, and giggling through a one-axed ascent of a WI4, which really got us working on footwork.

By the end of an action-packed hour I had remembered not to knock seven bells out of the ice with the picks and felt the footwork coming together nicely.

Now all I'm thinking is this: I bloody love ice climbing. Winter is coming is it? Bring it on.

frqnt - on 22 Oct 2013
In reply to BnB:
> I bloody love ice climbing.

Word.
iksander on 23 Oct 2013
In reply to BnB:
> I had remembered not to knock seven bells out of the ice with the picks

Tappy, tappy, hooky, hooky - and maybe your belayer will live long enough for the next pitch!
BnB - on 23 Oct 2013
In reply to iksander:
> (In reply to BnB)
> [...]
>
> Tappy, tappy, hooky, hooky - and maybe your belayer will live long enough for the next pitch!

Climbing with one axe as an exercise was really helpful for this. When difficulties extracting your only (firmly stuck) axe would mean it springing out suddenly under force, you're much more delicate with placements. Very instructive.
iksander on 23 Oct 2013
In reply to BnB: Also try climbing with no tools - surprisingly feasible. On the other hand climbing without crampons has short lived novelty before you break a knee cap or two.
In reply to BnB:
> you're much more delicate with placements. Very instructive.

Maybe for seconding but kinda useless for leading. I've seen plenty of people fall off when ice climbing, normally seconding or toproping, occasionally when leading, when tool placements blow.

Except for climbing thin ice where you want to limit the penetration of the blade I don't think there's much excuse for for blowing tool placements. If you hit the ice hard enough, your tool won't fail beyond a plate failure, but you should have seen that and cleared it. Falling leading ice is invariably bad news and delicate (as opposed to simply accurate) placements hugely increase the chances of that.

As I said thin ice is different but you should then know that you are upping the risk and accept that I guess.


nufkin - on 23 Oct 2013
In reply to TobyA:

> Falling leading ice is invariably bad news and delicate (as opposed to simply accurate) placements hugely increase the chances of that.

Agreed, but there's also something to be said for conserving energy where possible and not sinking to the hilt with every hit. Plus, some of my most unstable moments seem to come when trying to extract a deeply driven axe that then suddenly comes free and throws everything off balance.

'Goldilocks' placements is when we should always try for, I suppose
BnB - on 23 Oct 2013
In reply to TobyA: Absolutely. Without the security of the top rope I'd have been much more nervous!!
andic - on 23 Oct 2013
In reply to BnB:

Aww man I have GOT to get away this year!!
Nath - on 23 Oct 2013
In reply to BnB:
I visited Chill Factor as well last week.

First thoughts were - not very big.
Last thoughts were - my forearms are killing me.

Not a bad little set up to dust the cobwebs away, nice to play with different axes from all the major players.

Staff were friendly too - if I was planning on buying axes I would book a session and have a go with all of them rather than just blindly swing an axe in a shop environment.

All in all good work out and plenty of fun - the overhang was challenging as well, easy at the start of the hour, impossible at the end of the hour.

Nath B
BnB - on 23 Oct 2013
In reply to Nath: Yes it was pretty tight in there with my pal and a member of staff, whom I also found to be extremely encouraging (to the point of downright mendacity since he complimented me on my footwork).

We attacked the overhang mid-session which was probably the right point to go for it. Wish I'd made another effort at the end as forearms were feeling pretty good and it would have been an extremely rare opportunity to put one over my mate who's 10 years my junior. He was crumpled in a heap. Perhaps that bit of indoor climbing I've been doing has provided some fitness reward after all. I'd better keep it up.
Nath - on 24 Oct 2013
In reply to BnB:
Yes it is cosy in there with three people(and 6 pairs of ice axes).

I would definitely go again - my lad is keen to swing an axe so I might take him up there as well.

There was no one after us either so we we had close to an hour and half in there as well.

Nat B
matthew - on 24 Oct 2013
In reply to TobyA:
Here in the UK, thin ice tends to be more the norm.
ads.ukclimbing.com
In reply to matthew: Not particularly, Nevis thin-face routes being one obvious exception. Of course there are epic UK thin ice routes which include hard climbing with very little chance to get any protection in - Foobarbundee anyone? - but when it's cold and we get water ice it tends to fatten up quickly because the ground doesn't get too cold and there's invariably so much water around in upland UK!

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