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Ice Climbing Gear

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Ice Climbing has evolved into a sport of its own. There are more than 20,000 ice climbing routes established in the world, and there are two dozen climbing gyms that offer indoor ice climbing walls in their facility. Ice climbing has evolved from a means to ascend a mountain into a sport with its own grading system, routes, and distinct ice climbing gear. As equipment and techniques became more advanced, mixed ice and rock climbing became more practical, and safe.

Ice Fall Climbing

The three popular types and categories of ice climbing are:

Care of ice climbing gear

The best thing you can do is preserve your ice climbing gear is to dry it all out every day after you return. If you don't sepend the time to fully dry the gear, screws and crampons will rust, threads will corrode, and boots will start to smell. The evening is a good time to dry and inspect for damage. Ice climbing is hard on equipment. Inspect the ropes, harness and all other gear for damage, frays or misshape. Keep your equipment in a reasonable temperature at night.

Preparing the gear for ice climbing

Choose a location to set the gear back from the start of the route. Ice and rocks dislodge from the face and will impact at the base of the route. Put your helmet on first to protect yourself from falling ice. Lay out the crampons, screws harness and other ice gear. When all your equipment is organized, put on your harness next. The last item to put on are your crampons. If you put the crampons on before your harness it is possible to catch a leg loop with the point and damage the harness. In any case the harness is easier to get on without crampons.

An ice climber will determine the gear to use based on the type of ice climbing. Vertical ice climbing requires crampons and ice tools and screws for placing protection. On short stretches of less vertical ice, an ice tool can be used to chop out foot placements. For steep grades crampons are used. When traveling on icy flat surfaces such as a glacier or ice field a lightweight mountaineering crampon can be used in place of the ice crampon. For leading, an ice climber sets protection using ice screws. Ice screws are started by pounding with a hammer several times, then turning so the threads catch and pull the screw into the ice as an anchor. Typically two tools are used, one in each hand. The tools are not identical. One would have a pick and adze, the other a hammer and pick.

Ice Climbing Gear and Equipment

Equipment and gear used in ice climbing

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