If you’ve already gained lots of experience scrambling up rock walls but are looking for a new challenge to add to your climbing repertoire—and aren’t afraid of a little cold weather—it may be time to check out ice climbing. This chilly pursuit, which usually takes place on frozen waterfalls, can offer a new set of problems for a climber to solve over the relatively static environment on a typical rock face, as ice and snow create ever-changing, and potentially more dangerous, conditions. As such you want the best ice climbing gear to ensure you’re safe.
To scale these icy elevations, you’ll need a special set of tools, like ice axes and crampons, to help gain a solid connection to the slippery surface. We put together a short list of some of the newest and best ice climbing gear on the market now, so add some of these chill essentials to your gear list to push the limits on a frozen face near you.
1. Mammut Eigerjoch Pro Glove
The Mammut Eigerjoch Pro Glove takes the classic mitten to new heights with a three-finger design that includes a pre-shaped index finger for added control on slick surfaces. Water-resistant goat leather, Gore-Tex membrane and synthetic insulation combine to create a premium experience.
2. La Sportiva Mega Ice Evo Boots
This is product evolution at its finest: La Sportiva Mega Ice Evo Boots are a refined melding of a climbing shoe and mountaineering boot, all in one. The waterproof outer, bonded with an insulated membrane, keeps out the elements, while the integrated crampons provide rigid and precise control.
3. Black Diamond Vision MIPS Helmet
If there’s anything more unforgiving than falling rocks, it’s a crumbling ice wall. That’s why you need the Black Diamond Vision MIPS Helmet, the most durable foam lid in their lineup. It makes climbs comfortable with strategically placed vents to limit overheating, while headlamp clips allow for early (or late) starts.
4. Trango Raptor Ice Tool
Beautiful as it is functional, the Trango Raptor Ice Tool is perfectly at home on frozen walls. The pick penetrates the hardest ice like a talon, while a single-piece molded rubber grip ensures comfort when scaling long pitches. The pick features a reverse curve design and cleans easily.
5. Sterling Xeros Dry Rope
To create the Sterling Xeros Dry Rope, the brand spent three years working with their Bluesign-certified nylon yarn supplier to revolutionize what “dry rope” is meant to be. Unlike past attempts, this innovative process makes each fiber water-resistant before it’s twisted, thus creating a highly evolved climbing rope perfect for icy, inclement conditions.
[From $100; sterlingrope.com]
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