There are rock climbers that surrender easily when the winter rolls around, hang up their climbing shoes in favor of another activity, heading to the gym or working out for the next season. But, there are climbing fanatics that never give up even when the weather turns cold. It’s a fact that snow and cold weather can transform an easy climb into an epic adventure with seemingly endless challenges.
Instead of giving up on the outdoors and staying in the climbing gym, pack your ice gear and head to the nearest outdoor rock climbing spot. Winter is scary, but don’t let it trap you inside.
Where there’s sun, the rock gets warm
In summer, many climbing locations become unbearably hot so that people often give up on its routes. Meanwhile, during the winter some rock becomes more pleasant for climbing because the sun it up. If rock climbing is your biggest passion, don’t abandon it during the winter, but try harder instead. You’ll be surprised by your strength when the spring comes.
Your shoes stick better to the rock when it’s cold
Cold weather creates more friction between your shoes and the rock, while when climbing in hot weather you start to feel the rock becoming greasy after a while and your foot starts to slide. Cool temperatures help your feet remain stable on the thinnest edges.
You get to ice climb
Not all of us like it, but it’s interesting how the same environment changes during the winter. There are plenty of climbing spots in the US that transform from rock to ice climbing locations in the cold months. For example, driving past Vali, Colorado, on the left side you can see the climb Rigid Designator and on the right side, there is a free hanging massive ice column known as The Fang to climbers. People from all around come to climb the ice pillar and admire the location’s new look.
Don’t learn ice climbing on scary waterfalls
One step at a time! Don’t get frustrated that you can’t climb epic waterfalls. The learning process is not as easy as you might think, but it’s not too hard either. All it takes is constant practice and realizing when ice can hold your body weight. Find small frozen falls to practice on and you will be happy that you’re only going to fall 10ft at most. Learning where to stick the tip of the axe in thin ice is much easier to do when you feel safe.
You get to spend a lot of time in the backcountry
The good thing about winter is that you won’t see too many people roaming around the climbing locations. Spending a meaningful time in nature in low temperatures will change your perspective on the sport and all your surroundings. Understand that mountains are not just there to be admired and watched but they can also serve you as a playground. Exploring nature during winter is fun, amusing and inspiring.
Winter camping is cool!
Winter camping needs more technical and specialized equipment than camping in summer but if you prepare yourself well, you can have an amazing time out there. A warm sleeping bag and a sleeping pad are crucial for having a good night’s sleep when camping in the snow. Wearing layers is important as well so that you to feel comfortable and keep you from getting sick. Consider getting winter tires for your vehicle, because there’s a thin line between having the best adventure of your life, and being stuck in a snowbank waiting for a tow-truck. Take care and good luck!
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