Utah Ice Climbing Guides Private Guiding & Instruction - Utah Ice Climbing
Frequently Asked Questions - Ice Climbing
Climber on Bridal Veil Falls
Photo by Andrew Burr
What kind of crampons do I need?
Rigid, 12-point, spikes work better for the front-pointing involved in water-ice climbing than hinged, flexible, and often lighter-weight 10-point designs. The extra set of points usually faces forward and down from the front of the frame providing much greater stability and shearing resistance. Just as on rock, footwork is vital to effective ice climbing.
What are ice tools?
Water-ice tools are far different than the traditional, straight-shafted alpine axe. They have reverse-droop picks and shafts bent to hold the hand, protect the knuckles, and enable hooking placements above roofs. Most modern tools have no wrist leashes, but we teach with or without.
Is it cold?
Yes, usually it is. Being prepared for ice climbing with warm mitts and parka to wear when belaying or resting helps immensely. When its your turn to climb, take off the puffy jacket and overmitts, and avoid sweating.
Do I need rock climbing experience?
No experience of any kind is necessary. In all classes and guided outings we review the very basics of tying-in and belaying. Any background in rock or alpine climbing may accelerate the learning curve.
Can different ability levels climb with one guide?
This is very feasible, especially for top-roping in Provo Canyon Steep bulges, thin ice, and mixed lines often present themselves right next to confidence-building, WI 3 routes.
What is a typical day ice climbing?
We usually meet between 7 and 9 am, either at Nunns Park, The Park and Ride Lot at the base of Little Cottonwood Canyon, or another pre-arranged spot. The approach to most ice formations is on a climber’s trail that gains 300-500 feet and takes about 20-30 minutes. The guide takes a belay and demonstrates techniques as he / or she leads a pitch and sets up on or more top-rope anchor(s.) A combination of climbing, instruction, and snack and rest breaks keep us occupied until we run out of daylight or energy, usually between 3-5 pm.
On Multi-pitch routes, such as the Great White Icicle or Stairway to Heaven, the guide will belay from above, and the party will continue up until the formation is completed, if possible. Descent is by rappel and/or down climb, and glissade.
Where do I meet my guide?
The guide will arrange a specific meeting location and time with you specifically. Most commonly, this location is the Nunns Park lot in Provo Canyon.
Contact UMA if you have any questions:
Call (801) 550-3986 or email us at uma@UtahMountainAdventures.com