Ice climbing seems like a complicated sport, but it’s possible, even for starters, to conquer those icy sheets. Check out these waterfalls, glaciers, and mountains that offer stunning ice climbing sites.
Cool Conquests: World’s 15 Breathtaking Ice Climbing Places
1. Banff National Park, Canada
Challenge yourself with long routes on natural falls that freeze during winter. This gem in Canmore is a perfect place to practice and learn ice climbing techniques. The climbs in this area are accessible but a bit difficult at the same time.
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Your stomach might turn upon seeing those thousand-foot ice, but don’t worry. There are sections that are fit for newcomers.
2. Pyrenees, France
This country in Europe is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations. Apart from Eiffel Tower, it also offers a natural wonder in the form of the Pyrenees mountain range. These mountains serve as the natural border between Spain and France.
Situated within this mountain chain are spectacular ice climbing places in the continent. As you ascend, enjoy the unmatched views of the peaceful French landscape.
3. Lee Vining Canyon, California
Sunny beaches aren’t the only spots that California boasts of. During the cold season, it also presents mountainous places covered in ice sheets.
The Lee Vining Canyon is the best location in this state for ice climbing. In this area, you’ll experience the finest waterfall in California.
This destination looks like a regular canyon during summer. Then, it transforms into a winter wonderland once the temperature drops.
4. Frankenstein Cliff, New Hampshire
This state is a popular destination for its ski mountains. Additionally, it’s home to magnificent and scenic ice climbing tracks.
Frankenstein Cliff offers various routes whether you prefer all ice or mixed. Choose from 42 trails where you can sharpen your ice climbing skills. Start with basic challenges or shorter courses.
5. Viedma Glacier, Argentina
This massive glacier presents deep ice caves and unusual formations. It’s perfect for incorporating a glacier walk with a primary ice climbing experience.
Put your skills to test as you strap on crampons, step on the ice, and mount on steep walls. There will be professional guides to help you.
An extra part of the whole experience is the panoramic view from your boat as you arrive in the area.
6. Ouray Ice Park, USA
Ouray is well-known in the ice climbing world as it hosts the Ouray Ice Festival – its very own sporty gathering. It’s even dubbed as the “best venue in the world to develop ice climbing skills”.
These conquests were a result of water leaking from pipes. People were able to make more trails by changing the local water sources. Ice farmers and sprinklers built this ice park, and it has at least 200 manmade ice and mixed ascents.
Maximize your chances in this area as you can hire a guide to brief and instruct you.
7. Svinafellsjokull Glacier, Iceland
This list of top ice climbing spots is not complete without mentioning the land of ice.
If you want an out of this world setting, then explore this glacier in this Nordic country. Discover supernatural ridges and crevasses before scaling the ice walls. With the glaciers that are more than 4,500 square miles, the climate is favorable to ice climbing.
8. Adirondack Mountains, USA
This uncommon formation in Upstate New York is the largest wilderness on the east side. It’s a rare and unspoiled area of forests and water sources.
Its landscape is ideal for that winter escapade as it extends across six million acres. Additionally, it has ice formations and more than 250 climbing sites. These spots will give you the best views of America once completed.
9. Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa
South Africa might be out of your mind when it comes to the winter climbing world. However, this mountain range rests at a high altitude and freezes during wintertime.
Routes are created from frozen brooks on slopes and close-packed snow in deep gullies. You might want to try the Sani Pass which has perfect routes for novices.
10. Cogne Valley, Italy
This white paradise is a heaven for many ice climbers. With over 150 frozen waterfalls, this is one of the most famous ice climbing trails in Europe.
Ice climbing tracks are available whether you’re a starter or advanced climber. Icefalls are accessible, and you can complete some within the day.
Start your trip with the Lillaz waterfalls where local guides teach fundamental techniques. Additionally, you’ll run into a variety of plants and animals in this area.
11. Matanuska Glacier, Alaska
Plan for a day trip, and know your way around ice climbing in the land of 100,000 glaciers – Alaska. However, most ice formations are unreachable and are only visited by pro climbers.
Instead, traverse Matanuska Glacier which is the largest accessible glacier in the US. It provides simple treks and iconic ice walls. Here, you’ll also get lessons on different climbing techniques.
12. Sandstone Ice Park, USA
The canyon walls serve as the ideal location to freeze with water. This makes for an ice-climbing magnet in Minnesota. There’s also a Sandstone Ice Festival that happens every January.
This manmade ice park lights up to let you do ice climbing at night. Keep in mind to visit Land of the Lorax which is perfect for starters.
13. Ice Factor, Scotland
You don’t have to worry if the weather will cooperate during your ice climbing. At Scotland’s National Ice Climbing Center, the circumstances always favor the activity.
Ice Factor is an indoor facility with routes categorized according to skill level. Trainers are ready to assist newcomers, and gear rentals are available as well.
The center also offers outdoor trips with winter climbing tours on some peaks such as Ben Nevis.
14. Rjukan, Norway
Ice climbing for various skill levels is available in Rjukan. This way, climbers will be able to choose routes that suit them.
Experience the Scandinavian winter wherein the sun won’t even go out. During the periods between November and March, ice conditions are at their best.
15. Kandersteg, Switzerland
Try your hand at ice climbing in the heart of Swiss Alps terrain. Kandersteg provides astonishing cliffs and landscapes for all levels of climbers. There are easy icefalls available for initial routes.
The Kandersteg Ice Climbing Festival provides discussions, training lessons, contests, and parties. Visit during December to February to rehearse your ice climbing abilities.
It’s crucial that you learn techniques for safe ice climbing. Watch this video by Petzl Sport as they show how to place your ice screws, and set your anchors and v-threads:
Gather your ice climbing gear, and prepare for your encounter with enormous slabs of ice. Try out these striking destinations, and begin your ice climbing adventure.
What other ice climbing locations do you have in mind that you’d like to visit sometime? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
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