Ice climbing is an adventure sport that is gaining popularity among people who love to climb mountains. It is exciting and offers a challenge to those who are brave enough. Ice climbing is basically the act of climbing inclined ice formations on ice. In general, ice climbing refers to safe and guided climbing of various features like frozen waterfalls, ice cliffs, and mountain rocks covered with thick ice formations created by melting snow and rain. The most popular places where ice climbing is usually done are Himalayan Mountains, North America, South America, and Europe.
The basic gear for ice climbing includes helmets, harnesses, ropes, webbing, helmet, belay devices
(sticht plate, ATC, Gri-Gri, Figure Eight), Descenders, Ascenders, protection devices (nuts, hex centers, spring loaded camming devices), and other gadgets (rope busters, sewn runners, and pulleys). One must also take care of oneself while on the mountain. After all, safety is the most important thing while ice climbing. Some of the precautions that one needs to follow include:
Belaying is a technique used in ice climbing that is done by securing a rope to a particular wall using either a carabiner or a haul line. Belaying is a technique used to bring the climber up a long distance without adding any weight on the rope. The belaying procedure uses a thick rope that is put through an abseil device. The climber then has to place his or her feet onto the device so that he or she is now on a belaying machine.
There are many types of crampons. These crampons can be single use, double use, or even triple use. The use of single use crampons means that it can only be used one time. This type is popularly used in recreational applications.
Double use crampons on the other hand can be used thrice as well as they can also be reused. Triple use ropes are used in applications in which the climber has to rappel in order to complete the route. Although twin rope systems have become outdated because of their complex nature; they are still used in some applications. In some instances twin ropes are more appropriate than single ropes because they provide an easier transition for inexperienced ice climbers. However; some experts consider that using single rope systems is still better because it does not allow a person to develop an athletic style based on the strengths of his or her own climbing rope system.
There are certain rules that need to be followed in order to safely practice ice climbing. First Ascertain where the landing site is going to be during your first ascends. Land your ice climber on level terrain away from trees and boulders. The first step you need to take is to stop your climb and place your ice climber on the ground. The best way to start your climb is to walk around the ice climber and take a look at its condition. Look for punctures and wounds; if there are any then apply first aid immediately.
If you are going to practice mixed climbing, then you need to choose one of three equipments – a harness, a rope or a pair of gloves. Each one of these items requires special training so don’t try to mix them up. Always wear a life jacket while ice climbing. You will be wearing a jacket while mixed climbing, so make sure that it is a comfortable fit. You will also be placed in a prone position so that you can practice your first ascends standing up against a wall or against a frozen waterfall. When you are first learning the ropes, you will be placed into a prone position where you will be safer from any fall.
As you get more comfortable with ice climbing, you can attempt harder exercises such as free running, walking and resting on an ice stream. As an ice climber, you should know that your equipment should always be clean before you leave the mountain. Always carry spare climbing rope with you so that you can continue to climb even if your rope gets entangled. Ice climbers should always practice proper personal safety techniques before trying new activities.
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