/ Ice Climbing
A good way into this is on an intro course (e.g. Alpine Guides who are superb). http://www.alpine-guides.com/mountaineering/ice/la-grave-ice-climbing-course.htm And if you read up on their ice climbing advice it gives you a fun quick overview of some of it: http://www.alpine-guides.com/mountaineering/advice/ice-climbing-advice.htm
Why can't you ask your friends?
Well for starters and strictly speaking ice climbing doesn't require snow. In fact some of the best experiences I've had, admittedly abroad, have been when there has been hardly any snow at all.
It differs from both sport and trad because it is more run out and protection can be dependant on the quality of the ice. Grades start at 1 and go up depending upon the steepness of the line and the quality of the ice. 1 and 2 are very easy angled. 3 gets a little steeper and may involve short sections of what feels like vertical. 4 and 5 definitely feel vertical and strenuous for most of a pitch and above that I can't comment.
In some ways grading is even less objective than on rock. A pitch can have lots of ascents so steps tend to develop. This can make a route feel easier than it is graded.
Why not ask your friends?
Switching to winter climbing from summer is technically easy. Winter walking experience is important because you'll have learnt a lot about the extra weight & hard work involved and started to understand about different snow types/hazards.
There's a world of difference between good & bad conditions in winter, especially UK and grades are a lot less reliable as a consequence. If you can afford to go abroad the ice is more predictable. Practice hammering, sawing, writing etc with your weak hand and do anything to make your calves squeal.
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