The best ice needs to be rock-hard-cold and what that means is that you'll be spending a lot of time in the shade. When it is winter, the shade can get pretty cold!
At some points you'll be working up a sweat & you'll need layers to handle the heat. Once it is your turn to belay, you gotta bundle back up because your body temp will drop.
Let's walk through the basics on the gear you need to feel good plus the tools you need to be safe.
The first thing we start with is a baselayer.
The best option for this is merino wool and wool blends. Wool blends are better than ever with material woven in and treatments added to make it soft, non-itchy, retain stretch and be anti-microbial.
The next step is to pick your midlayer. The midlayer is your insulation piece and you can expect to put them on and take them off throughout the day depending on how your body feels.
We often pack both a fleece and a lightweight down for ice climbing.
The next layer is your outer shell that is waterproof and / or windproof to protect against the cold elements.
Some key features to look for are Gore-Tex or other brand proprietary material to provide the highest level of wetness protection, hood that fits over climbing helmets and pit or leg zips that allow you to dump heat without needing to remove the entire layer.
The final layer that will keep you comfortable while belaying or during lunch is a belay parka.
The belay parka is typically a heavier weight, more burly, down puffy jacket. Perfect for those winter ice climbing temps.
Just as important as the right layers are having the right equipment.
Here are our top picks for reliable gear specifically for ice climbing.
You can't head out without these essential accessories!
Hat, gloves & gaiters to keep you warm and dry.