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5 tips and tricks on how to start ice climbing

Author(s): Cragcloud
Video Release Date: January 20, 2021
Video Source: YouTube

Would you like to know how to start ice climbing in 2020? Then this is the right video for you! Ice climbing is very different from other types of climbing, so in this video I will give you 5 tips and tricks you should to know if you want to start ice climbing! And if you watch the video to the end I will also share a few very good ice climbing destinations for beginners. In this ice climbing video I will give you tips and tricks on ice climbing technique. Whether you are a ice climbing beginner or have been ice climbing for some years, these tips and tricks on ice climbing technique will help you improve your climbing abilities. I will also talk about what essential ice climbing gear you need. The most essential ice climbing gear are technical ice axes, crampons, ice screws and a helmet!

Besides this I will talk about the ice climbing grading system called the Water/Ice or WI system. It ranges from WI1 to WI7. WI7 is very rare, and most climbs are between WI3 and WI6. Tjønnstadbergfossen in Rjukan In Norway is a typical WI3 with a few sustained moves and long bulges of ice, while Cascata di Patri near Cogne in Italy is a classical WI4 with long sections of 90 degrees ice. And finally Sabotørfossen in Rjukan is WI5 with its final full pitch of about 85 degrees steepness.

According to alpinist.com the water/ice grading system can be described as:

  • WI1: Low angle ice; no tools required.
  • WI2: Consistent 60º ice with possible bulges; good protection.
  • WI3: Sustained 70º with possible long bulges of 80º-90º; reasonable rests and good stances for placing screws.
  • WI4: Continuous 80º ice fairly long sections of 90º ice broken up by occasional rests.
  • WI5: Long and strenuous, with a ropelength of 85º-90º ice offering few good rests; or a shorter pitch of thin or bad ice with protection that’s difficult to place.
  • WI6: A full ropelength of near-90º ice with no rests, or a shorter pitch even more tenuous than WI 5.Highly technical.
  • WI7: As above, but on thin poorly bonded ice or long, overhanging poorly adhered columns. Protection is impossible or very difficult to place and of dubious quality.
  • WI8: Under discussion.

Grades differ from region to region. A WI4 in Cogne might not be the same as WI4 in Valdez. Like all other climbing grading systems providing a specific climbing route with a grade will always be a subjective decision. And especially with ice climbing routes as they might change from season to season. And they will also differ from early season to end of season. In this ice climbing video I will also give you tips and tricks on how to build ice climbing experience. If you have some friends who have experience and you are on a budget, you could see if they are willing taking you ice climbing. If not, you should consider hiring a mountain guide who can introduce you. In most of the major ice climbing areas you can hire mountain guides – they are not cheap, but it is an excellent way of getting started with ice climbing. Or, you could also consider joining one of the many different ice climbing festivals. They usually run clinics and workshops to build basic ice climbing skills, and that it is not that expensive.

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