Wednesday, 20 January 2016

My Ice Wall Climbing Beginners Session



For my birthday in December I wanted to try something a little different!  I figured that I can booze any time, right?  In Glasgow we have a large indoor ski / snowboard area with real snow (its so cool) and it now has a big ice wall and climbing facilities.

My boyfriend got us both a 90 minute beginners time-slot, such an exciting birthday gift!  When we arrived at Snow Factor we met our instructor and he kitted us out; we got ice boots, a helmet, a safety harness and pick axes.  When I seen the pick axes I was like 'what the fuck' because I wasn't expecting them to be so big!  The instructor didn't check that my safety harness was on tight enough either so that put me on edge a little.  To be honest, the guy was nice enough but he seemed a little miffed / irritated that myself & the bf wanted to try ice wall climbing with so little climbing experience.  I know its a specialized sport but we all have to start somewhere, am I right?

I was told that the ice wall is between 8 and 10 meters depending on which wall / which part of the wall you climb.  We had a go at 2 of the walls but I only got to the top of 1 of them.  On the second wall I made the mistake of looking down haha I shit myself and came back down.  I think going down was harder than climbing up!  I wasn't a fan of coming down at all.  I think it was because of the way you come down?!  You need to lean back into your harness and walk down the wall backwards, like abseiling and I just was not into that part at all.  Climbing up was easy enough in theory - you use the boots to steady your body by kicking them into the ice and moving them up slowly, step by step.  The pick axes act as an extension of your arms and you use them to help climb and keep balanced.  Simple enough, right?  Wrong!  I found it hard to find my footing and really hard to keep my balance.  At one point my foot wasn't stuck into the ice properly so when I tried to move I lost my footing and totally fell away from the wall.  After that I lost my confidence a little but I'm still so glad that I gave it a try.

Is it a sport for me?  No, probably not.  I hate the ice picks, they freak me out a little bit.  I'd probably do it again but it wouldn't be a regular thing.  I much prefer dry wall climbing.  Would I recommend it?  Yes!!  I came away from my lesson feeling like a combo between Lara Croft and an Assassins Creed member.  Its definitely a great experience but I understand that its not for everyone.
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