Before you embed yourself into the icy incline…
…don't forget about proper equipment and safety! Climbing in winter conditions is suitable only for experienced climbers, as it is much more demanding and much more dangerous. If you are not experienced enough, do not climb icy walls on your own, but only in the company of an experienced guide!
The equipment that you need
In addition to the mandatory climbing equipment, including a climbing harness, carabiners with a locking nut, and a helmet to protect you from falling pieces of ice, for ice climbing you also need:
- two ice axes
- winter boots
- protection accessories (ice screws, ice pitons, carabiner systems, Abalak tools)
Ask about the conditions
As is true for anyone who goes to the mountains in winter, ice climbers should also check the conditions of icy walls. Above all, it is important to inquire about the state of frozen waterfalls. Unlike rocky walls, ice conditions constantly change. The difficulty of climbing, which is measured by the slope, abundance of water in the waterfall in autumn, the cold and the structure of the ice, also changes. The difficulty of climbing the same waterfall can be completely different from year to year.
Usually, the best conditions for climbing are from mid-January to March, but it all depends on the actual air temperature. Ice climbing is very specific and demanding, so you need to be more physically prepared than for climbing rocky walls.