Photo credit: mtnguide.net
HANG ON TIGHT!
As the weather continues to cool and we descent into the depths of winter, extreme sports enthusiasts switch gears to cold weather sports. Extreme sports lovers who love to surf in the summer months generally turn in their boards for skis. Deep sea divers and water skiers will hang their swimsuits up to dry and switch into their much heavier snow gear.
One popular extreme sport is climbing. In the past at x-wear we’ve highlighted some of the most incredible climbing feats, instances where climbers scale the sides of immense cliffs without the aid of any protective ropes. What will these adventure seekers do when the temperatures dip? Well, some of them will decide to Ice Climb instead. Yes that’s right, some climbers take their penchant for scaling sheer rock face and apply it to ice.
This sport is significantly more dangerous than traditional free climbing for several reasons. Rock, as a material, is relatively stable. For the most part its composition is the same as it has been for thousands of years. Of course time and weather patterns can have lasting impacts on the development of rock, but it is, for the most part, unchanging when using a human time frame. Ice, on the other hand, is pretty much as erratic as it gets. Bodies of freshwater that normally flow heavily through the warmer months can completely freeze over in the winter.
Waterfalls are no exception to this simple rule of physics. Even though the speed of their movement is essentially freefall, when temperatures drop enough, they too can be halted. When a waterfall freezes over it appears as a thick sheet of vertical ice. Some extreme sports enthusiasts take picks and spiked shoes and climb right up the side of the waterfall. This activity is incredibly dangerous because of the delicate nature of the ice. If a small piece of ice near the top cracks in any way it can severely affect the stability of the ice below. Conversely, if a loose chunk of ice falls from the top of the waterfall onto the climber below, it can be instantly fatal.
If you’re planning on Ice Climbing, don’t skimp on the protective gear! Make sure to be fully trained in what this sport involves and all of the risks associated with it. Having proper eyewear for your time on the ice is key. Check out some great, performance sunglass options here that will definitely help equip you for the climb ahead.
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