10 Intense Ice Climbing Photos
Published on 01/29/2013
Pretty much anytime you blaze up a vertical slab of ice it’s going to look intense. Icefalls, frozen waterfalls and cliffs covered with ice are all dangerous places to be. But the changing nature of ice and snow can make for a dramatic and beautiful image-if you’re brave enough to find it. We’ve searched out the seven most visual reasons that scurrying up a mountain’s slippery face should not be for the faint of heart.
Ben Nevis, Scotland
The premier UK location for ice climbing, Ben Nevis is also Scotland and the United Kingdom’s highest point at 1344m. Located at the western end of the Grampian Mountains in the Lochaber area of Scotland, many of the routes were first ascended during rock climbing’s early years in the late 19th century. Each winter the Scottish Highlands are plastered by a layer of snow and frost from strong North Atlantic winds making for dangerous, but spectacular, conditions.
Mer De Glace - Mont Blanc Range, France
The "White ", Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps, Western Europe, and the European Union. It rises 15,782 ft. above sea level and is ranked 11th in the world in topographic prominence.
Ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies is world class. Easy to access canyons and massive multi-pitch frozen waterfalls provide almost unlimited challenges for beginners and elite climbers alike. The area between Canmore and Golden, British Columbia also boasts the highest concentration of ice climbing locations on the planet.
Hidden in a maze of mountains and forests, Ouray is a six-hour drive from Denver, Salt Lake City or Albuquerque. But, despite its remote location, the surrounding mountains provide numerous challenging routes and the small mining town remains one of the best places to hone your skills. Also home to the Ouray Ice Festival, in 1995, using a clever plumbing system of pipes and sprayers, a group of locals created the Ouray Ice Park, the world’s first ice park, at the south edge of town.
Sopot Waterfall, Croatia
Climbing the waterfall Sopot on Medvednica in Croatia isn’t always possible. Winters are rarely cold enough for the water to freeze but, when it does, the lights from the city of Zagreb can make for an intense image.
The leading ice climbing site in Northern Europe, Rjukan is divided into six distinct climbing areas with dozens of high quality walls. Freezing Arctic winds make for a long climbing season that ranges from late October to late March. Considered by many the European version of friendly, accessible Ouray.
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 for its quality, length and accessibility.
Helmcken Falls Spray Cave, British Columbia
Three times the height of Niagara Falls, Helmcken Falls boasts the “World’s Hardest Climb”, Wolverine, the first WI 11 in the history of ice climbing. An ice climb protected by bolts, Wolverine is a steep-to-horizontal route that forces climbers to navigate fragile and spectacular spray ice stalactites.
Fox Glacier, New Zealand
The Fox Glacier, located in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, is one of the most accessible glaciers in the world. Falling about 8,500 ft. on its 13 km journey from the Southern Alps down to the coast, the glacier has actually been advancing since 1985. Like its sister glacier, Franz Josef, the Fox Glacier features plenty of steep ice weeps and free standing pillars to explore.
The geography of Argentina and Chile’s region makes for one of the most travelled to, and photographed, snowy destinations in the world. The high rainfall against the western Andes and the low sea surface temperatures offshore gives rise to cold and humid air masses contributing to ice-fields, glaciers and the largest ice-fields in the Southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica.