Looking for a new winter sport to add to your growing repertoire? Then ice climbing is your next logical step. From seasoned climbers to total novices, this is one winter skill that will do you a world of good - especially if you're heading to the hills this winter. Blacks team mate, Pam Wheeler, discusses her first icy steps into ice climbing.
I had been toying with the idea of ice climbing for a while and the festival presented the perfect opportunity to finally give it a try. We signed up to a trial session with Kong Adventure Centre, and with very little climbing experience we decided to throw ourselves at it and hope for the best!
Some of you may have never walked in crampons and I can tell you that it is a very unusual experience. We were kitted out by the instructor and it wasn’t long before we were learning about the ice colours, structure and subsequently digging in with an ice axe! The technique required a little practice but it didn’t take long until we were confident in what we were doing.
A foot above the ground we were taught about body position and stepping up, combining our crampon covered feet and ice-axe wielding arms into a climbing manoeuvre. I won’t lie, it was exhausting, but completely worth it. The feeling of accomplishment when you really start climbing is fantastic, you feel a real sense of achievement and start to get that feeling that you absolutely have to do it again!
With ice climbing, you use muscles you never knew existed, so more training for technique and strength on indoor or outdoor walls is necessary. After our first ice climbing session, we were hooked. We returned to learn the rope work to belay each other safely on the indoor walls, and can’t wait to have another crack at it.
Any kind of climbing is great for fitness as well as meeting like-minded people and making new friends. I can’t recommend it enough. Don’t think about doing it, just give it a go.
Interested in Ice Climbing? Guided courses are available at Keswick's Kong Adventure Centre