I’ll cut to the chase. How I feel about ice climbing = thank you, next
I’m not a big winter sports person. I went snowboarding once in high school and have never done it again. I never learned how to ski. I know how to ice skate but have only gone 2x in the past 7 years. Basically I just don’t do winter or the cold.
This winter was the exception. I played on two football teams this winter….outside in the cold. I’ve been on a few winter hikes. I am trying to like winter. Trying.
So when the chance to go ice climbing popped up, I immediately said yes. I didn’t hit me until the week of the trip that I really do not have a lot of winter gear for winter sports. I borrowed a ton of winter gear from bae such as snowboarding pants and bought a new jacket.
Where did you go?
We met at EMS Climbing School in the Gunks where their guides outfitted us for the trip. They made sure we had the right boots, crampons to put on the boots, the right clothes, etc.
After we were outfitted we headed into the Catskills, which was a few exits up from New Paltz.
So you immediately started climbing right?
Not exactly, once we got to the trailhead parking. We put on all our gear, such as the harnesses and helmets. It was an icy hike to the crag, maybe about a 45 minute hike. I wasn’t carrying that much gear but trying to walk in crampons without ripping up my pants (really bae’s pants that he let me borrow), was difficult (I ripped the bottom of his pants 😦
It was a beautiful hike to the crag. Beautiful frozen waterfalls. It was gorgeous. It was in the low 30s which sounds cold but I was very warm in all my layers.
Once we got to the crag, the guides set up the top rope anchors. They essential lead climbed up and made their own anchors on the way up. It was pretty cool and scary. Scary because I was lead belaying one of the instructors as she did it. As she climbed up, she would put ice screws into the ice.
Once the top rope anchors were set up, we were given tips on how to ice climb. Despite the tips, it was much more difficult than it looks. Digging your crampons into ice and expecting it to hold you is hard. If you throw the ice pick too hard, it’s hard to get out of the ice. Don’t throw it in hard enough and you fall.
It was one of the coolest things I’ve done. I felt like a badass doing it. The instructors were great. I learned a lot about ice climbing and winter hiking. I loved the company (shoutout to Crux climbing for letting me join the trip!).
However, it’s just not for me. I’m just not into it. It’s cool but not a winter sports person. It’s also not that cheap. I was definitely overwhelmed at first but it was a great day.