First Experience Ice Climbing

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After getting in to indoor rock climbing in the summer, I was super excited to give climbing a try outdoors in the mountains somewhere.  The problem was here in Alberta it was quite a long wait until the snow melted and outdoor rock climbing was back on.  Melissa thought it would be fun to give Ice climbing a try.

At first I couldn’t believe what we were doing.  Lets go find a frozen over water fall in the heart of winter and climb up it with a couple of axe’s.  Not being a fan of the cold I was already nervous about the adventure, but none the less was eager to try something new.  We recruited Melissa’s good friend Erich, who is an all around Bear Grylls when it comes to anything outdoors related, to show us the ropes.

Screaming Barfy’s ….. yay!

So this term is used to describe what can happen to your hands while ice climbing. With your hands elevated for a long period of time, in such cold temperatures, they tend to lose circulation.  When you finish your climb or take a quick break, all the warm blood from your core rushes to your hands created pain that can be so overwhelming that you either scream or barf.  Thats all that pretty much needs to be said on that note…. :S

Our weekend turned out great! We stayed at HI hostel in Jasper, which was nice to be able to get out of the cold after a day of climbing.  The weather stayed somewhat mild for us the whole weekend, and there was a ton of ice in great condition to give us a great experience.  The physical challenge, learning of all the new gear and techniques and absolutely priceless scenery all helped to put ice climbing in our “have to do more often” list!!

Just one more way to get out there and LIVE!!

Jon and Mel

**Sidenote** If you ever spend a night at the HI Hostel in Jasper, be sure to ask the folks there about mattress sledding.  The thought of dragging a rubber mattress up an old ski hill doesn’t sound too appealing… until you pile on and go barelling down the hill with absolutely no control over where you are going.  I won’t give away too much, but just leave it by saying its a MUST TRY during your visit.  PS. Do it at night with headlamps for an added thrill!!!

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