Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Instructor Ice at the Notch

Beginning the approach.
Ice Climbing is a popular program offered in the winter months at SMC, such that even instructors have a hard time getting on a trip. So two weekends ago, the program ran an Intro Ice day for instructors who haven’t been out on the ice much yet, or who wanted to review skills. The day involved: reviewing crampon use/movement, getting to and from the wall (‘the approach’), proper climbing and resting technique, as well as expectations at the base of the climb. The conditions were wonderful: soft ice and mild temperatures, which are great for first-timers.

Instructor-in-training Meghan ascending
one of the intro routes.
I had never been climbing on ice before, and I found that it was challenging in a different way than rock was. In my experience, 90% of the challenge on my first day out was learning to trust the tools and the crampons on my feet. In theory, it would make sense that one should feel secure (because one IS secure) when ascending ice with sharp things. Realizing that definitely took an adrenaline rush (or two) before I was able to really hang on my tools, but at the end of the day I felt I'd learned a lot. If you're thinking about an ice trip, I highly recommend it!

Peace, Love & Snow,

-Ben R.
Instructors JJ (Jess) and Jen, all smiles.

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