I never thought I’d climb a glacier. I mean, what did I know about ice climbing? Not the first thing, that’s what.
Want to see a short vid of us climbing? Click here!!
So no, Matt and I didn’t set out to go ice climbing. We were just looking for one last beautiful and awesome day trip before we left Huaraz, Peru. And when Galaxia Expeditions presented ice climbing as an option, we jumped on the opportunity!
Galaxia Expeditions provided all the equipment – from snow pants and gloves, to boots, crampons, harness and pick axes. And helmets. We were well equipped but obviously didn’t know the first thing about climbing up a wall of ice.
Luckily, our guide was awesome and taught us the basics of how to climb really quickly.
How to Ice Climb (from someone whose only done it once)
Basically, you gently but sturdily drive the sharp pick end of your icepick into the ice. You don’t have to do it hard – and actually it’s a waste of precious of energy if you hammer the ice. Then you do the same with the other one, while you’re reaching up. You make the motion like you’re climbing up a ladder. Once your arms are steady, it’s time to get those legs moving.
Take one toe out of the ice while using your arms to pull yourself higher (and your other leg to propell yourself up). Then stick your toe back into the ice and bring your other leg up. The whole time, keep your body parallel to the ice.
And don’t freak out because you 100% should be attached to a rope incase you fall.
The rope also lets you get down to the ground once you’re done climbing.
I loved every second of ice climbing. The feeling of tapping the ice picks into the ice just so – jabbing the toes of your crampons into the ice – the whole system working together. The complete quiet that surrounds you. It’s just you, the ice, and your breath.
I also felt like I was defying gravity. Which is pretty awesome! I mean, it’s not like it’s that easy to walk up a nearly 90 degree wall…is it!?
I was quiet amazed with every step I took that I didn’t fall off the ice. I mean, I was doing it! Really doing it!