Ice Climbing Gear

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Ice Climbing GearThe basic ice climbing gear and ice climbing equipment consists of Ice Climbing Axes, Crampons, Climbing Harness, Ropes, Ice Climbing Gloves, Helmets, Ice Screws and other protection, and specialized apparel like Belay Jackets and Belay Pants. This apparel and equipment is often associated with mountain climbing gear.

Technical Ice Axes: One of the biggest advantages in the last few years has been the introduction of the hand rest, which stops the hand slipping off the bottom of the axe. For leashed climbing this helps control and, in the case of full sized hand rests, stops knuckle damage and, most of all, gives vastly improved grip over the shaft. For leashless climbing all these things apply, with the only difference being the obvious increased importance of improving grip on the tool.

Many climbers are wary of these hand stoppers on the bottom of their tools, as they fear they will make shaft plunging more difficult. In my experience this hasn’t been a problem and I have found that by switching
between plunging, daggering with the head (using the pick full depth) and normal pick placements I have been able to climb anything, from soft névé to candyfloss and personally even if there was a problem I’d be happy to work around it as the improved grip just blows old school grips away every time.

Mountaineering Ice Axes: These Alpine axes also fulfill an important role in being perfect introductory axes for beginners, having three of the most important features you want in an axe when starting out, being cheap, strong. and cheap. A solid Alpine axe will get most climbers up any route they wish, although you usually find above grade IV a more technical pick will make things less difficult. For technical climbing go for something between 50 to 55, for Alpine 50 to 65 and for snow plods and general mountaineering 60 to 70 (depending on height). Next to get the optimum length in each category you should be able to hit your raised heal with the spike while holding onto the headset. Then holding the axe in the self arrest position the spike shouldn’t stick out much further than your hip bone. This way you should end up with an axe you can easily use to stop your crampons baling up yet still self arrest safely with the danger of an over long shaft catching in the snow.

Ice Climbing Gloves: Many Gloves can be used for Ice Climbing. A small number are made specifically for Ice Climbing. Rab makes a glove called the M-14. It is a tight fitting, well thought out, breathable glove. It is constructed with a Soft Shell material on the back of the hand, and with a Pittards Leather palm. The Palm is reinforced in high wear areas. The outside of the pinky finger had a foam and leather pad to help with hand protection, durability, and comfort. The knuckles have a nice amount of foam padding as well. The Rab M-14 is best suited for dry-tooling or warmer days on the ice. The Rab Latok Glove is an Event membrane water Proof Glove that is built for climbers in colder weather. Outdoor Research Added the Alibi glove and the Alpine Alibi to their line up of climbing gloves. The Alibi gloves are constructed with a sticky, rubber-coated palm that aids in holding your ice tools. The cuff on the Alibi gloves are very strong and designed so you can relax your hand while hanging on a leashless ice tool. The knuckles are plastic coated to add a great degree of protection. The pinky is also protected for additional comfort when accidently striking the ice. The Alpine Alibi has all the same features, but with insulation and a snow cuff for use in colder temperatures.

Ice Screws: The best innovation we have seen is the C.A.M.P Radion Ice Screw. The only ice screw made with a hanger that spins independently of the shaft allowing for maximum screw penetration and optimal hanger
placement. I pre-clip the Ice Screw into the rope before I place it just in case my hands are frozen and I drop it, the screw isn’t lost. Also the placement is lightning fast, Check out the video

Indoor Training: Ice climbers now have the opportunity to train for ice climbing year round on Ice Holdz. Ice Holdz are comprised of a two part system consisting of a proprietary composite plastic shell filled with a unique glacier blue backing . When combined, the shell and backing actually mimic the properties of real water ice, including hardness and penetration. You can actually swing your tool into the Ice Holdz or look for nooks and crannies for dry-tooling.

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