What is ice climbing?
Ice climbing is one of the direct mountaineering sports. The basis of this field is to deal with natural or artificial waterfalls and glaciers and to pass through them, which itself has a wide branch and independent techniques. Ice climbing itself is divided into several branches and activities, including glacier climbing, ice fall climbing, and rock climbing with dry tooling.
For many people, getting close to ice means shivering and being unbearably cold. But there is a sport that teaches you to enjoy this cold and the challenge of dealing with exceptional conditions and weather. Ice climbing is one of the most popular sports for thrill and adrenaline lovers who don’t want to miss the beauty of cold nature. If you are also interested in cold weather and exciting challenges or planning an Iran Tours ice climbing expedition, this article will provide with all the information you need to get started.
This sport is one of the most difficult and perhaps the most dangerous sports and challenges that athletes choose. In this sport, the first mistake can be the last mistake and lead to the death of the athlete. Therefore, despite having high skills, these athletes are in urgent need of the necessary equipment for ice climbing, which we will mention in the following article.
Ice climbing is another form of rock climbing, equally difficult and exciting, but with the addition of the two factors of cold and ice. Those who are looking for a different type of climbing and are not satisfied with just going to winter programs may want to try the exciting and enjoyable sport of ice climbing.
The sports venue is an ice roller, a natural or artificial frozen waterfall, or a natural glacier. In some places, you can go ice climbing only in winter and in some glaciers in spring and early summer. Climbing an ice wall or glacier just like rock climbing requires specialized knowledge.
Yakhar, Siuleh, and Dobi-Sal glaciers in Damavand, Fialestun, Kharseh Dar and Northern glaciers in Sablan and Alam Chal, and Ab-Nik glaciers in Alam Kouh are the birthplaces of this sport in Iran.
Ice climbing is the activity of climbing ice bodies. These bodies include ice cliffs, frozen waterfalls, and ice floes in very cold regions. To explain this activity further, we have to divide ice climbing into two categories: mountain ice climbing and water ice climbing. Mountain ice climbing, as the name suggests, takes place in mountainous places, and usually, the goal is to reach the peak.
But water ice climbing usually happens on ice pieces and rocks under which there is water flow. Mountain ice climbing has a specific route that does not require much technique. But water ice climbing is more famous for the more challenge it creates for the ice skater and the many techniques it needs to be successful.
Ice climbing is one of the sports that are not possible without facilities. An ice skater can choose his own equipment according to the type of route and the type of ice and create an exciting challenge between himself and nature. For example, for ice climbing on flat ice, almost any type of standard climbing boot can start the carton. A device called a crampon is attached to this boot so that the ice skater can keep himself on the icy surface.
Ice climbing equipment:
A pickaxe is one of the most important tools for climbing in the snow. Pickaxes are different according to their usage. Nowadays, they use short picks of 65-75 cm, and long picks are less used in big climbs. Some picks are very lightweight. These picks are used in alpine snow tracks.
A metal device with long blades that are attached to the bottom of the shoe and is suitable for moving on the ice, and with it we can move more easily on the ice without slipping. In fact, the blades create friction. Crampons are made in three models, which are: crampons for hiking and mountaineering, crampons for climbing ice waterfalls, and crampons known as ice breakers. Climbing crampons have extra blades on the front of the foot and are designed so that they get stuck in the ice during climbing, especially on ice waterfalls, and keep the person stable. Crampons are usually changeable and are adjusted on the shoe and are fixed to the shoe by strong straps, and a climber chooses the crampon he wants according to the type of activity he is doing.
3- Snow Anchor
One of the ice accessories is the “snow anchor”, which sits in the snow like a ship’s anchor and can be well supported with it. The snow anchor has a short box wire to which the rope can be attached. The snow anchor, if it sits right in the snow, can support several hundred kilograms of weight. Snow anchors are used for steep icy surfaces where ice nails or screws are not very effective.
4- Ice Ax
Ice Ax is the middle ground between rock climbing hammer and ice pick. Its tip looks like a pickaxe and its bottom looks like a hammer, its length is between 55 and 60 cm and its weight is 650 to 700 grams. It should be said that the ice ax is used in ice walls.
5- Ice Climbing Rope
The ropes that most people use in ice climbing are single or double. Twin ropes are mostly used for ice climbing because the ice has sharp edges and safety will be increased with two ropes.
Other technical accessories for ice climbing include a multi-purpose ice climbing hook, ice climbing hook screw, handle for closing the ice climbing screw, and ice climbing tool holder.
Shoes and Clothing Suitable for Ice Climbing
In ice climbing, what is important is the right cover so that people can protect their bodies from the cold and on the other hand have the least weight.
Cotton clothes will not be suitable for vigorous outdoor activities, which include jeans and t-shirts. Special and modern clothes will be more suitable for ice climbing and will significantly make a good experience.
Necessary Conditions for Ice Climbing
Ice climbing requires a strong body and familiarity with special techniques, and you must have sufficient knowledge and preparation for ice climbing. This is the main condition of ice climbing. The environment in which you study this field is ice.
It changes shape every moment, every day, and every hour. It is not like a football field that always has the same shape. In order to deal with ice climbing, it is necessary to have the right equipment and full knowledge of different climbing techniques.
Like all other difficult and strenuous sports, ice climbers should be aware of the dangers of this discipline. However, don’t let these dangers stop you from enjoying an exceptional ice climbing experience. With enough knowledge and practice and the right insight, move forward to an enjoyable ascension experience!
Ice Climbing Sport in Iran
Ice climbing is done in a limited and professional way in all corners of Iran, and Migun Ice Climbing School, in Rudbar-e Qasran rural district, is one of the most famous ice climbing schools in Iran.
Introducing Some suitable Places for Ice Climbing in Iran
If you are interested in ice climbing, our first suggestion is Yakhar Glacier. Eastern Damavand glacier is one of the most challenging routes to climb this peak. This huge and variable glacier has 5 large ice corridors, the most famous and longest of which is called “Ikhar”.
On the left side of this glacier is the southern corridor of Yekhar, which ends at the beginning of the snowy roof and rocky ridge of Sulfur Hill. On the right side of Yakhar, there are 3 sub-corridors, the first from the right side reaches the ridge of Takht Fereydon (northeast) and the other two sub-corridors end at the peak.
Keep in mind that the ice quality of the sub-corridors is not good and they are not suitable for climbing. The main glacier starts at an approximate height of 4100 meters and continues up to the peak. It has a place in itself, and it hosts climbers from this route at different points of the route with different slopes from 50 to 80 degrees.
The main reason for the formation of this large glacier can be considered the melting of the permanent snow of the peak and then freezing behind the walls (towers) of the glacier.
Because the angle of placement of the side walls of Yakhar is such that it is exposed to sunlight for only 2 to 3 hours every day, this also causes severe cold in this area of Damavand.
Therefore, it can be said that the best type of ice among the 5 ice corridors is in the central corridor, which is fragile and green and gray in color.
2- Fronzen Waterfalls:
Many ice climbers prefer to pursue this exciting course in frozen waterfalls in winter instead of ice climbing in natural glaciers. One of these waterfalls is the Ab-Nik waterfall. The waterfall is located in the village of Abnik, one of the districts of the Qasran-e Shemiranat River.
To reach it, you have to go 22 km from Lavasan and see it after Fashm, Zaygan village, and the Lalan intersection. To go to Ab Nik, if you don’t have a vehicle, you can take a bus or taxi to Tajrish Square and from there board minibusses or Fasham taxis and ask the driver to take you to Ab-Nik.