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The GFORCE Guide To…Ice Climbing

Added 06 Nov 2019 by GFORCE

We all know a little bit about climbing but imagine doing it in brutally cold conditions and on ice. Today’s niche sport blog will help you do that as we give you a guide to ice climbing.

Ice climbing really does what the name might suggest – competitors climb up sheets of ice!

Climbs can take place on Alpine ice, formed in the mountains or on water ice, which is made when flowing water from a waterfall, freezes.

There are also two types of competition – lead climbing and speed climbing.

In lead climbing, a group ascends in a train with rope attaching them all. One person, the lead climber, goes in front and attaches the rope to the ice as they go to keep everybody safe. The challenge in this variation is to conquer difficult ascents.

In speed climbing, the challenge is to ascend fast! This is a much simpler variation where climbers go individually and try to reach the top of a given section in the quickest time possible.

The sport is overseen by the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA). It was established in 1932, although it took until the early 1990s for ice climbing competitions to begin.

Now the UIAA holds World Cup and World Championship events every year. In 2019, contests have taken place in Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, Italy, China, Finland, France and the USA.

If you thought climbing was already a sport full of skill and risk, then ice climbing goes one step further.

Weather conditions can dramatically change the condition of the ice being climbed from hard to soft, and from brittle to tough.

Ice climbing then is a sport which needs experience, exceptional skill and, perhaps above all, bravery!

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