We know we don’t make ice climbing gear but we also know that some rock climbers like to take their adventures to different terrain.
Are you an ice climbing hobbyist? Ice climbers have to pay special attention to their footwork while climbing to stay safe.
After spending hours on the ice, your feet may get cold enough that they change color. A little blue and black on your toes is expected. But if the discoloration is extensive, it could cause frostbite.
So what if there was a way for you to still enjoy your love for ice climbing without all these issues? Use these five ice climbing tips to help you.
1. Start with Your Crampons
Climbing is a gear-intensive sport, and having the right gear is essential. One type of climbing gear you will need for ice climbing is crampons.
When ice climbing on a vertical slope, you need a strap-on crampon. The same crampon works well for water ice and snow or glacier climbing. An ice ax combined with the crampon helps increase safety and efficiency.
Having the right crampon for vertical climbing lifts a lot of the burden off your feet, allowing you to cover more ground, faster.
2. Watch Your Steps
Each time you want to move your foot up from one point to another on the ice, you should always watch your step.
Ice climbers who have done it for long don’t even look at their feet when moving upwards. The problem with this is that you could fail to position your feet properly on the ice.
This almost always ends up in you slipping or losing grip. Another risk of not watching your step is that you may bash your knee against the ice or hurt your other leg by kicking into it.
3. Flex Your Toes Upwards Facing Your Shins
It takes various parts of your foot to work together for you to make the perfect swing and use as little energy as possible during ice climbing. Do you ever think about using your toes?
By flexing your toes towards your shin right before placing your crampon in the ice, you ensure a lower chance of getting injured or experiencing soreness.
4. Use the Knee Hinging Technique
Instead of using your entire body to swing your foot as you sink your crampon, how about using the knee hinging technique? Simply move your foot from the knee joint and in one swift move dig into the ice.
If you make the knee hinge technique a habit, you will not experience weakness halfway up. You will also find it quite easy to place crampons into the ice.
5. Trust Your Instincts
The unwritten rule in ice climbing may require you to give it one or two tries when landing your crampons on the ice. But what happens if you’re not confident with your current position? This is where instinct comes in.
If your gut tells you to dig one more time, then go ahead and do it. Remember that ice is strong but it’s also prone to cracking. This means that if you don’t place your crampons securely, you risk sliding or falling.
The Keys to Success for All Ice Climbers
Ice climbing is a sport that can bolster your mental and physical capabilities to extents you never thought possible. With confidence, persistence, and the right techniques you will become a force to reckon with among top ice climbers.
Above are some foot techniques you should practice and perfect to help you improve and get the most out of your ice climbing adventure.
Since it’s summer and icefalls might be hard to come by, you probably might need quality products and accessories for your non-ice-related rock climbing? Just to tide you over until the next ice-climbing season.
Walk into any of our authorized retail stores near you. You might find something you like.