On Ice…

On Ice…

The most recent interest of extreme sports enthusiasts is ice climbing…

Turkey offers exciting routes to sports fans. In the months of December and January, the regions with cold climates such as Erzurum and Van become suitable for ice climbing since the waterfalls freeze. If you are ambitious in mountaineering, have the right equipment and technical knowledge, ice climbing is the perfect sports branch for you.

Ice climbing from past to today

Ice climbing is actually defined as the most extreme measure of rock climbing and other mountaineering activities. In the winter months, mountaineers who wanted to pass the challenging paths in the mountains and cross the glaciers needed much safer technical equipment to meet this need. In parallel, this perspective triggered the popularity of ice climbing, which required special materials at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1908, a climber named Oscar Eckenstein invented the modern crampon. Athletes interested in mountain climbing began to climb on slippery ice masses easily thanks to this crampon. Then, in 1930, an athlete named Laurent Grivel went further and added the front points, allowing climbers to kick into on steep ice. In the 1960s, Yvon Chouinard revolutionized the design of ice axes. First, it shortened the traditional 25-inch (63.5 cm) mountaineering ax to 22 inches (55.8 cm). Then, at that time, he changed its traditional shape, which was flat at a shallow angle to the shaft of the axle. Today, with the development of technology, many high-end types of equipment are adopted. So ice climbing became safer for all athletes.

Concentration is important

Climbing on large slopes of ice, formed on the high slopes where stream beds are disembogued due to sudden drop of air temperature, is now performed more safely with various mountaineering tools and equipment. Climbers, climbing on the vertical ice surface, reach the summit through the route they set. In the meantime, let’s remind that combining technique, speed, and stability, this sport really requires significant concentration. In this type of climbing, where athletes combine tactics, speed, and agility with a solid strategy, the experience is as important as the adequacy of physical and technical equipment. In ice climbing, just as in mountaineering and rock climbing, the three-point rule (at least 3 of the 4 limbs, two hands + two feet, defined as 4-points, should be kept on the rock surface continuously) is practiced. Although ice climbing is an activity that arises from rock climbing, climbing methods are very different. Climbers can only stand on extremely dangerous and slippery surfaces thanks to spiked boots, ice axes, and ropes. Ice axes are used for creating steps on snow or ice, detecting dangerous crevices, tying ropes, and braking or supporting. For a climber, determining the quality and type of ice is as important as knowing how to use an ice ax.

The best technical equipment is required

Amateur climbers, with the help of an experienced guide, can practice ice climbing through the right practice, good condition, balanced power-to-weight ratio, and quality equipment. Ice tools stand out as the most important and expensive equipment needed by an ice climber. A traditional ice tool includes a collar that you wrap around your hand to help you hold the tool. Leashless tools are becoming more popular among experienced climbers because of their flexibility. A climber needs crampons to pull on snow and ice. Crampons are sharp metal spikes under your boots and pierce into ice as you climb. You can attach crampons under your boots or straps, or you can wear boots with crampons. Mono-point spikes have a single front point, while two-point spikes have two front points. Mono-points tend to be more flexible for mixed climbing when your surface changes from ice to rock during climbing. Ice climbers protect themselves from falling by using ice screws and ropes. As you advance through a climb, you place the ice screws in strategic areas, and when you fall, you cling to a rope that will save your life. Well-placed screws can support hundreds of pounds of weight. In addition to cold-weather clothing, gloves, and rope, never forget to wear your helmet.