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.
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.
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.
Climber on Bridal Veil Falls
Photo by Andrew Burr
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.
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.
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.
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.
Call (801) 550-3986 or email us at uma@UtahMountainAdventures.com
Thank you for the great ice-climbing, and wonderful guiding by Andy Polloczek last week. My friend (Rico) and I had a lot of fun climbing, and we are really grateful of Mr. Polloczek's expertise. Even though Rico has ice-climbed in the past, he conveyed to me that he learned much more from Andy's instructions. It was my first time climbing on ice, and I think I am definitely addicted to this sport now. My other friends have expressed interest in ice-climbing as well (even a co-worker), and I will refer them to you and your company.
- James Cho
Mike was absolutely top-notch -- experienced, knowledgeable and personal. Great instruction and company for the day. A big thanks to Mike and UMA.
- David M. Llewellyn
I felt safe and well-instructed and enjoyed a full day of climbing... some of the best in my life!
- Carol Masheter