Posted by & filed under General.

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Jax n’ Lance here for a weekly dose of adventure. First things first, can you believe the ridiculous amount of snow we have been getting?!? Call me a broken record or call it groundhog day, yet 44 inches since the 28th? Blasting through records, and literally dropping snow more days than I can keep track of. And I am pretty sure the tram can’t even believe the powder blowing in its way… #blessed. If you don’t live here and were tossing the idea around of a visit, here is a teaser…

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Powder aside, or when you have had enough powder days #isthatevenpossible, this week we thought we would throw another dose of winter adventure your way.

I mean what else could we possibly find besides SkiMo, and snow bikes? That would be Ice Climbing! During our visit over to see how epic snow biking could be, the race course just happened to ride right by the Exum Ice Park. Since they say third time is a charm, I figured I would rally and see what this sport was about too. So here you have it from step one.

Ice Climbing defined

Ice climbing is the activity of ascending inclined ice formations. Usually, ice climbing refers to roped and protected climbing of features such as icefalls, frozen waterfalls, and cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice refrozen from flows of water. For the purposes of climbing, ice can be broadly divided into two spheres, alpine ice and water ice.

Back when I lived in Colorado, beyond triathlons and running, I loved meeting up with my great buddy who just also happened to be the director of Operations for USA Climbing to climb at a local gym. It was so fun that I was hooked. Especially in the winter. I would hit the gym 4-5 times a week to meet up with friends, and climb away.

Now to back up, I have ice climbed once, on the fly none the less through the Pearly Gates to summit and then ski Mt. Hood, and that was a serious crash course. IMG_8028

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So we took things back a notch to start off the right way and asked our great friend Erica Engle who tends to visit the wall personally, as well as to take private clients there or on other trips in the park for Jackson Hole Mountain Guides.

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On this night, there was not only an open wall to climb, yet there was also an option to participate in many fun different climbing events. As competitive as I can get, I decided to stick to learning and watch the pros do their thing.

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So here you go. Ice climbing. Instead of nice little shoes you squeeze your feet into, a tank top and shorts, you trade in for cramp-ons, gloves, two ice axes and your ski clothes in tow. So here are my top ten moments learning to ice climb.

1. It is a whole new beast. You may think you have this one down without a problem because you climbed for two years straight… not so much. Baaaaack to square one…

_B0A05512. Ice is fragile and tough all at the same time. Take care of it and it will take care of you.

_B0A08403. Not that I didn’t know this already from my Avy 1 class at Jackson Hole Mountain Guides two years ago, but Erica is a REALLY good guide. Of course I am bias because she is one of my best buds, yet ask anyone and they will back me up. Book her for a private or check out the group classes sometime.

_B0A05744. Exum Mountain Guides are also very top notch. Folks are seriously lucky around here to have really good choices to take them to the goods. We are also very grateful for them letting us visit their great group. You immediately want to come back again.

_B0A05355. The Exum Ice park is super sweet. Check it out Wednesdays and Sundays from 4:00-8:00pm before the ice melts. The staff and guides are REALLY friendly too.

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6. There is nothing so exhilarating as when your arms get pumped. Definitely forgot about that feeling.

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7. One of the best parts about climbing are the multiple times you can top out and achieve a goal, and then make a new one. #endlessprojects

_B0A05768. There is something so cool about seeing events and groups come together such as this that really show teamwork and pump each other up.

_B0A07509. Equipment in Ice climbing is nothing to mess with. Those crampons alone are full of spikes.

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10. Keep it real and mix up your adventures in the winter by taking on Ice Climbing.

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THANK YOU EXUM for letting us check out your diggs! Super cool stuff.

Photos by Lance Koudele Photography, Writing by Jax Mariash

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