I found myself surrounded. I felt little. I was a beginner again.
I found myself surrounded by burly men and women that carried around sharp objects that resembled the old weapons that a Mongolian Hun once wielded in battle.
I felt little because these people climbed an element that was much more fragile, brittle, and unstable than the bulletproof rock that I climb on.
I got to experience what it was like to be a beginner again, clueless on technique and only able to top rope.
I didn’t think that it was going to be any sort of a culture shock, seeing how we were all climbers, but there was. These people were climbers of another breed.
I was fortunate enough to have attended the 2013 Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival as a part of my job. In all the 10+ years that I’ve been climbing, I had never swung an axe or worn crampons. So a week in one of the U.S.’s ice climbing meccas was a great way to get introduced to the sport.
My official introduction happened in Pine Creek Canyon near Livingston, MT. We climbed Lower and Upper Pine Creek Falls.
On our second day in Bozeman, we ventured into Hyalite Canyon to poach some of the numberous top ropes that were set up.
The rest of our time in Bozeman was spent hanging out downtown where all the partying was happening for the festival.
Will Gadd was in the house.
As well as Ines Papert.
And Angelika Rainer, a multi-year ice climbing wold champion.
During that week, I got to climb, talk, hangout, and party with various ice climbers. It wasn’t long before I started noticing the defining characteristics of ice climbers. From what I saw, there were a handful of characteristics that differentiated the persona of an ice climber to that of a rock climber. Please read my
article on the Liberty Mountain Climbing blog.