The ups and downs of Ice climbing

In terms of excitement and exhilaration there can be few sports as thrilling as ice climbing, the daring and innovative pursuit of scaling colossuses of frozen water.

Many may consider the participants mad, or even worse, but the pursuit of achieving something difficult, dangerous and downright stupendous is why ice climbing has such a great following.

Ice climbing came about as mountaineers often found their route to the summit involved traversing an ice flow high up the mountain; the need to ascend this tricky feature became part and parcel of climbing a mountain, and the attraction of climbing ice structures closer to the ground became appealing.

Using ropes and harnesses for added safety, ice climbing is something that represents the very best in sporting achievement, as man against nature must be the most compelling battle of all.

The climbing of mountain ice is known as alpine ice climbing, but perhaps the more interesting aspect is the standalone version known as water ice climbing: it is so called because it involves ascending frozen water in the form of waterfalls and similar features, and is considered the most difficult and skilled type of ice climbing.

Indeed, water ice climbing requires such skill that there is much for the novice to go through before tackling the first obstacle and it is, as a result, a highly addictive pursuit indeed.