I have many friends who have been after me to try ice climbing for years already. Somehow, the thought of spending an entire day freezing my butt off while getting showered with ice and freezing water just didn't seem that fun to me so I put it off and concentrated on skiing or 'shoeing instead. Finally, on Saturday, January 23 I relented and agreed to learn the basics from a good friend - Raf Kazmierczak. We were also joined by Ben and Mike from Edmonton.
To my surprise, and largely thanks to a gorgeously warm day and great location, I really enjoyed ice climbing! Obviously, I have a long ways to go if I'm going to be leading anything substantial any time soon, but we learned the basic techniques and practiced on top rope, placing screws, the advantages of leashed vs. leashless and how to build Abalakov (v-thread) anchors. My goal isn't to become an accomplished ice climber but rather to have the skills necessary to safely climb and protect ice in the alpine when I encounter it there. Last year we encountered a few situations on 11,000ers where some experience and training on ice would have been a huge safety asset (both on Sir Douglas and Mount Warren).
Here's a few pics of us having fun.
[Our playground for the day.]
[We set up top ropes to keep things safe while we played around.]
[Raf shows us how it's done.]
[Ben is having way too much fun.]
[Learning the proper placement technique.]
[Mike's turn (photo by Raf K.)]
[The ice wasn't too hard but we found good lines for practicing various techniques.]
[My turn. We would do laps in order to feel 'pumped' - good training but not something you want on lead! Photo by Raf K.]
[I have to admit it was fun.]
[This little waterfall is perfect for practicing and not very well known so we had it to ourselves.]