Looking for someone to learn from (PA)


Original Post
Jake Cramer 1 · · State College, PA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 80

Hello, my name's Jake, and I'm interested in learning to ice climb from someone in Pennsylvania.

What a great start to a post, right? Does this person even realize that ice climbing is extremely complex and potentially deadly?

In short, yes. However, that's exactly what I'm looking for. I'm primarily a rock climber, mostly sport but more recently trad, and I'm in an interesting situation that has piqued my curiosity about ice. I guide for my University's outdoor rec program, primarily rock climbing, caving, and backpacking trips, which affords me free access to their hard gear (crampons, tools, and screws). Everything else I need to toprope on ice I already own and am experienced with; helmet, dry-treated rope, anchor materials, trad and sport rack, and mountaineering boots (for winter trips to the dacks).

Though I have zero experience ice climbing, I do understand basic concepts of it, the most prominent being that it isn't like rock climbing.

That being said, if anyone reading this is in central PA, or anywhere within 4 hours of state college, and is willing to begin teaching a safe, young, competent climber a new sport, I would be thrilled to learn from you this coming season. If you're interested, shoot me a pm and I'd be happy to provide more info on my background knowledge and rock experience.

For those of you outside PA, alternatively, to get started should I just bite the bullet and pay for a course at NE Ice fest, or from some other guide service? Also, do you think it would be constructive, or more importantly safe, to try toprope ice climbing on my own? Any and all comments and advice are welcome.

Best regards,
Jake

Arthur Eng · · DE · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 5

http://www.collegeoutside.com/events/the-collegiate-ice-carnival/ | COLLEGIATE ICE CARNIVAL

Otherwise, facebook.com/groups/dmvice/.

I would jump on this, but I'm closer to Philly. Does Penn State organize ice climbing trips? Why does the school's outing club have ice tools?

Jake Cramer 1 · · State College, PA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 80

Cool, thank you for the info! I'll definitely be looking into that collegiate ice event.

Also, if you're from the Philly area, I'd still be interested in possibly hitting areas closer to you like the narrows or Delaware Water Gap.

Penn State Adventure Rec., ( which is who I work for, and separate from our outing club), does organize ice climbing trips, but usually only once a year or so, and staffing is very competitive. The trips are also planned months in advance, and often postponed or cancelled due to poor ice conditions.

The reason the outing club is uninvolved in ice climbing is kind of a long story. They used to have an extremely active climbing division, and ran multiple mountaineering and ice climbing trips every year up until the late 2000's, when the office of risk management decided out of the blue that we weren't responsible enough to do that. The division was shut down, and all of the club's gear was taken by the university, and used to establish adventure rec., which is a university-funded subdivision of campus recreation. It's pretty convoluted, and left a lot of people unhappy, but the biggest impact was that it pretty much killed off the university's climbing community, which is just now starting to come back.

John Gehrig · · Easton, PA · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 20
Jake Cramer 1 wrote:For those of you outside PA, alternatively, to get started should I just bite the bullet and pay for a course at NE Ice fest, or from some other guide service? Also, do you think it would be constructive, or more importantly safe, to try toprope ice climbing on my own? Any and all comments and advice are welcome.
Just go out and do it! Get out there and meet some PA ice climbers...

Toproping ice is similar to rock except...

  • Ice WILL fall down, managing icefall is part of the game... Be careful, and watch the ice above you.
  • Climbs that are not well formed/bonded shouldn't be toproped (use your judgement). Knocking down a climb because you wanted to TR it too early is inconsiderate.


With some common sense and solid anchors, you'll be fine. If you feel you can safely TR rock, ice shouldn't be any trouble for you.

If you can find the time, definitely go to MWV Ice Fest. It's an awesome event!

Feel free to shoot me a PM.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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