Ice climbing is climbing on ice. Now I know
that this sounds not only dumb but also impossible.
It really just goes to show the length to which people
will go to get up the side of a mountain.
Large mountains will often have parts that are completely frozen over or gullys filled with compact snow.
In order to ascend something like this one must
employ the methods of ice climbing.
Ice axes are used to gain support with the
arms and crampons are worn on the feet.
The principle difficulty in ice climbing is in securing
yourself. One looks for rock protruding through the ice but
if none is available one may have to resort to
using ice screws.
These devices are about 15 - 30 cm long and are hollow
tubes with screw teeth on the outside. One screws them into
the ice and then runs the rope through the ice screw.
If you fall on them with enough force the ice will melt and they will slide out, mmm lovely.
When you get to the top of the section that you have been climbing if
there is no where to find gear placements then you might
have to make a snow bollard.
Ice climbing is a lot of fun and is a very surreal experience. Instead of searching for the next hand hold
you just swing your ice axe and make the next hand hold.
If the ice is very cold it is difficult to get the axe to
penetrate. You really have to swing hard and also make sure that the axe does not bounce back and hit you in the head.
The main mental problem comes in climbing consistently
and in not wasting energy. You also have a lot of exposure to deal with
as there is usually as not as much protection available as when rock climbing.
You are surround by a magical landscape. It is formed and shaped in a most novel way. The constant monochrome can become oppressive.