It is ice climbing festival season. The latest to go down was the the seventh annual Kandersteg Ice Climbing Festival which took place in the Bernese Oberland from January 5 to the 7th, in very un-wintery conditions. Despite this around 450 ice climbers came to climb, discuss, test gear and party with participants coming anywhere from Russia to Spain to Scandinavia. The highlight of this event was a dry tooling competition with eighty climbers competing. The winners were the familiar Austrian/German/Swiss names of:
There were plenty of films and presentations; Will Gadd and Sean Isaac (CAN) showed fascinating pictures of modern mixed routes in Canada. Nicolas Favresse (BE), Ines Papert (DE), Albert Leichtfried (AT) and Markus Bendler (AT) showed their achievements from the past year.
The ice climbing festival was initiated by Black Diamond and supported by Lowa, Patagonia, Julbo, the town of Kandersteg and the Hotel Ermitage. Next years event will be on January 4 – 6th, 2008.