To Begin Ice Climbing


Ice climbing can be excellent winter recreation.  A gear checklist from Super Dave.



Several years ago, a friend prepared this checklist for people considering the sport of ice climbing.  The humorous piece may be more truth than fiction.





To Begin Ice Climbing 


  1. Ask, read and lose as much sleep as possible wondering what style of ice gear is right for you.
  2. Bring your credit card to the nearest climbing store and spend all of next year's disposable income on ice climbing gear someone recommended based on hearsay.
  3. Hide the gear at home and try to control the fear in your heart of the thought your partner may discover you just spent $3,000 you do not have.
  4. Using a ten pound (3.9 Kg) frozen fish, smash the back side of your fingers until you cannot hold the carcass any longer.
  5. In front of an open refrigerator, strip to your underwear, place a dozen ice cubes around your private parts, pour a gallon of ice water over your head and repeat in a loud enthusiastic voice, "Wow...this is great'.
  6. Tie yourself to a tree near the balconies of a local retirement home. Display a sign which reads "Save my future...Reduce Old Age Security Benefits Now!', then try to survive the barrage of objects being hurled at you.
  7. Ask a neighbor to tie his Rottweiler with a shoelace at the other side of a four-foot-high fence.  Smack the dog a couple of times and repeat, "If the string breaks, the fence will hold the dog back... the fence will hold... the fence will hold.
  8. Call in sick Friday morning.  Jump in the car with a couple of friends who exhibit questionable personal hygiene and drive for 13 hours straight.  Get out of the car, realize there is no ice to be climbed and return home excited about the prospect for ice climbing next weekend.
  9. Find out from your new friends that half the gear you purchased in Step # 2  is really worthless, and "...only 'Posers' buy that stuff.
  10. Over a romantic dinner, tell your partner they will be spending Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day, Valentine's Day and President's Day on their own, because you will be driving 'up north' with 'friends'.

It has been suggested many times that ice climbing is dangerous.  It can be, but so can crossing the street if you fail to look both ways first. 

Like any sport, specific gear is required and it is very important to learn in steps and to develop a gradually evolving knowledge and skill set for safe practice. 

Ice climbing is unique in many ways but starting on an indoor climbing wall is always a good idea for physical conditioning and learning the use of ropes.  If there is ice to climb, there will be guiding firms nearby offering their services for access, equipment rental and instruction.  It is wise to benefit from their experience and to manage initial investment. 

The area west of Calgary contains world-class ice climbing opportunities.  People from all over the world travel here annually to take advantage of some of the best ice climbing opportunities on the planet.  Participants may range from absolute novice to seasoned expert.

You may find an ongoing passion and create years of exciting memories with new life-long friends.


Copyright for the tongue-in-cheek ice climbing checklist which has been published here with his permission, belongs to Dave B.  Dave has been a friend and hiking partner for many years and a lot of great memories have been created together.