Ice Climbing 101: Tools, Gear, and Safety Tips

A group of people ice climbing up a snowy cliff.

There’s no better way to make your winter holidays eventful than to go ice climbing!

Mountaineering has always been a common pastime in America but people rarely did it during winter. However, that has changed in recent years. Ice climbing is no longer a niche sport in the US. In fact, more than 3 million Americans actively participate in it now, as reported by the OIA.

With ice climbing gaining more popularity, it’s important to reiterate the risks associated with it. You can avoid most of these risks simply by preparing well in advance. Learn how to find the best ice tools for ice climbing in 2023 below.

Essential Ice Climbing Gear

First things first, you need to carefully find and buy the most important ice climbing gear for your adventure. Start with the following essentials:

· Snowsports Apparel

While climbing in the summer can be brutal, ice climbing in harsh winter months is often much harder. You should invest in high-quality snow apparel like insulated pants, hard-shell fabric jackets, and fleece-lined inner shirts. Brands like The North Face offer wide ranges of snowsports apparel online.

· Protective Accessories

Protecting your ears, hands, and face is just as important as covering the rest of your body with snow-appropriate apparel. Make sure to invest in multiple pairs of snow gloves, beanies, gaiters, and scarves. Neck gaiters are great for neck protection while snow gloves can help prevent blisters and cold sores on your hands.

· Appropriate Footwear

Footwear is one of the most important aspects you should focus on when ice climbing. The best ice climbing boots and snowshoes for men should share qualities with the best mountaineering boots for men and women. Both of them are made to be sturdy, waterproof, and durable. When looking for ice climbing boots, make sure to find matching crampons that can be fitted into them!

A person carrying skis and a backpack in the snowy mountains

Best Tools for Ice Climbing

Investing in the best ice tools for ice climbing can be costly but always worthwhile. Spending a little extra money on ice climbing gear that guarantees protection can be what saves your life out in the snowy wilderness. Here’s a list of ice tools you must get before going ice climbing.

· Ice Axes and Tools

Every seasoned alpinist and mountaineer understands the importance of ice axes and ice tools. Since ice is far more slippery than rough mountain terrains in the summer, ice axes need to be much pointier, sharper, and aggressively shaped. Brands like Grivel and Petzl offer some of the best ice tools for ice climbing online. You can explore their ranges and pick ice tools that suit the specifics of your ice-climbing adventure the most.

· Ropes and Cords

When ice climbing, your entire body weight often relies on a singular long rope. The rope you use needs to be sturdy enough to fulfill this purpose. Ropes and cords offered by Edelrid and Mammut have been the leading favorites among experienced ice climbers for many years. Make sure to explore different sizes and thicknesses as per your needs.

· Body Harness

Harnesses are necessary for suspension during ice climbing. You should take your time to find and try out different body harnesses for added safety. Remember, your harness should never be loose but it should not be too tight either. A harness that is snug around your chest and thighs is ideal.

· Climbing Helmet

If you end up falling during your climb, as many ice climbers do, you could sustain serious injuries to your head. The only effective way to prevent this is to wear a climbing helmet. You can find a wide range of ice-climbing helmets online. Make sure to read the best climbing helmet reviews to find out which helmets are popular in 2023.

· Eye Protection

There is always debris flying around in snowy mountains and rough terrains. Invest in a pair of goggles to protect your eyes during your ice-climbing adventure. Ice goggles can help protect your eyes from sharp objects and injuries that could otherwise lead to impaired vision.

An ice climber wearing red ice climbing clothes and protective gear

Safety Tips for Ice Climbing

Now that you know which ice tools you need for ice climbing, it’s time to learn how to do this sport safely. Here are some expert tips.

· Go with a Group

No matter how experienced you might be as a mountaineer or ice climber, you should never go ice climbing by yourself. This is especially important if you are a beginner. Ice climbing is an uncertain sport, which means there can be emergencies you have not planned for during your climb. Having other people around can save your life in such cases. So, always go ice climbing with a group!

· Keep Extras and Layer Up

Layering up with bundles of snow clothes is obvious in harsh conditions. However, what most people don’t consider is taking extra clothes or accessories with them. Many new climbers don’t keep extra pairs of gloves with them even though glove tears and damages are fairly common. Carry extras of any ice climbing accessories you think could get damaged during your adventure.

· Invest in Emergency Devices

Navigating the wilderness when everything is covered in snow can be tricky. Not only can you get lost if you separate from your group but you can also get caught up in unanticipated avalanches. Invest in electronic devices like a handheld GPS or an avalanche beacon so that you are prepared for emergencies.

Happy ice climbing!

A group of climbers walking in snowy mountains

Buy the Best Ice Climbing Tools Online!

Not sure where to get the best ice tools for ice climbing? Head over to Back Country Gear!

Our site is specifically made to help outdoor adventurers find all the premium gear they need in one place. You can find the best products from top brands through our detailed rankings and reviews. We offer the Best Climbing Helmets reviews, trekking poles reviews, climbing gear reviews, and much more. Go through our Backpacking Reviews to find your ideal outdoor gear through our site.

Our blog contains information about a wide range of outdoor activities. So, don’t forget to take advantage of it!

A person hiking with a backpack in the mountains.
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