Listen to the calling
Do you remember when you saw an ice climber hanging on an icicle for the first time? I don’t. It was probably a while ago.
What I remember however is the feeling I have every time when I see an ice climber doing his thing. To my eyes, it’s the 2nd most unreal experience. I am usually looking like a hypnotized raccoon, mouth wide opened, can’t stop the dribble.
Do you know what is the most unreal experience for me?
To be that climber.
Nurture your hunger
A couple of years later, when I worked in Austrian Alps, I’ve decided to start ice climbing on my own. I didn’t know how to do it and where to find climbing buddies, but I wanted it badly.
I’ve ordered my first set of technical ice tools. I didn’t know too much about the gear. My friend had a deal for Edelrid so I’ve got a set of Rage ice tools.
When I held them in my hands for the first time, I felt excited. Time has stopped. I’ve been scanning them over and over. I was trapped in this magic post-purchase by a feeling of pleasure. Even the most powerful words: “Adam, dinner is ready”, were not strong enough to stop my dreaming.
After a deep analysis of my new babies, it was time to jab something. Table? Wardrobe? Doors? Better not. The imagination of landlord’s grumpy face has quickly stopped my demonic thoughts.
Where is some ice to climb? Something to climb ropeless, friendless and mindless. I sprang behind my Laptop and joyfully spent 5 hours by searching for fun.
I found one canyon full of small waterfalls near Kitzteinhorn.
Let’s go for it
I’ve jumped in my car and drove to the place. I found it easily because it’s a well-known summer touristic destination. Thanks to offseason, there were no spectators, no entry fees and nobody to stop me. One quick parkour styled jump over the fence and I was in. Now it was the time to rip some crystals apart!
Drop the pack, gear up, hang on! I started my frantic ice traverse. I was back in my youngster times. Climbing up and down, left and right, all over the place. I’ve climbed everything I was capable of. Then I’ve climbed it again and again. Time was not important. I was thrilled.
Finally, my arms were toasted. My calves were burning. It was time to wrap up this adventure, drive back home, sit down and plan a new one. Something bigger.
As I drove back, all I thought about was: “I have to find a climbing partner.”
Solo ice climbing is not a long term sustainable plan. Find a partner.
This was and still is my biggest problem with ice climbing. You can have superhuman power, the best gear, be psyched but if you don’t have a climbing partner, you will hardly progress.
Over the past years, I’ve found some ways how to connect with other fellow climbers so I can finally enjoy this impressive sport.
It’s not easy. It takes some effort and time, but if you don’t give up you will find them.
Everybody can be an ice climber.
If you are stuck at the partner outreach, feeling disappointed, maybe one beer can change everything as in my true story: https://defeatyourlimits.com/dry-tooling-has-sucked-my-brain-in/