Rock climbing not extreme enough? Want to add freezing temperatures and slippery walls to the mix? Ice climbing spots is the pinnacle of extreme sports. Scaling a vertical cliff side covered in ice with nothing but a couple axes and a pair of crampons is not for the faint of heart. While we certainly can’t recommend ice climbing spots to everyone (maybe stick to snowball fights, eh?), we do have mad respect for those of you brave enough (and fit enough) to ascend hundreds of feet into the sky, using a sheet of ice like a ladder. If you’re looking for your next big challenge, here are 5 of the world’s best places to go ice climbing.
The big ice formations, that occur around waterfalls, cliffs, and rock slabs are some of the most incredible sights to be seen in the wintertime. But, these ice formations are more than just pretty spectacles to appreciate from afar.To some, when winter hits, and water freezes over, a playground is made. Ice climbers find the best places in the world to climb those epic ice formations. It can be dangerous, and alpine ice is somewhat unpredictable. But, to reach the top of an ice fall is an incredibly rewarding experience.
Rjukan, a collection of frozen over waterfalls, offers some incredible climbing that attracts people from all over the globe. From the Krokan ice climb, to the Gorge, there are many gorgeous, world famous climbs that vary in difficulty and length.
Still in the United States but a bit harder to reach for most American climbers, Valdez, Alaska is located on the northeast side of Prince William Sound. Valdez is the site of dozens of climbing walls and frozen waterfalls. The Keystone Canyon is perhaps the area’s best-known ice-climbing site. The Canyon is loved for its quality, length and accessibility. Keystone’s most popular walls are Keystone Greensteps and Bridalveil Falls.
Home to the Ouray Ice Park, the man made ice climbing spots venue offers more than 200 named ice and mixed climbs. The park is free and open to the public. There are also plenty opportunities for beginner climbers to hire guide and instructional services. Or check out the biggest Ice Festival in North America, happening January 8th-11th, 2015.
The world’s best areas for ice climbing is the Swiss Alps. The Alps are full of ski resorts and ice climbing walls, many of which cater heavily to tourists. If you’re a newbie looking for expert guidance, there are a number of ice-climbing locations where experienced climbers will teach you how to scale frozen waterfalls up treacherous mountainsides. One of the premier sites is Kandersteg, which is home to a number of famous routes, primarily in in the mid to higher grades. Kandersteg hosts an annual ice climbing festival as well as a week-long course for experiences climbers.