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Does the type of rock influence the stability of the ice?
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Jan 8, 2013
I want to preface this with, I am very new to ice climbing, and I know understanding and reading ice stability is something that I will need many days on ice to grasp.

I was wondering, when ice forms does the type of rock it forms on influence the stability of the ice formation at the rock/ice interface? For example does ice formed on granite have a stronger bond with the rock then on quartzite? I imagine that this is true. If so, is there a hierarchy that is known? Such as granite>sandstone>the woody in the gym?

I look forward to your responses, thanks in advance.
From SLC, UT
Joined Jun 3, 2011
1 points
Jan 8, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: on top of the RNWF June 2012
if anything the shittier the rock the better the bond, due to most crap rock is also very porous. That isn't something to worry about though, if it's delaminating ice climb delicately, if you don't yer gonna die fer sure! Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Joined Feb 8, 2010
232 points
Jan 8, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Rrrrr
no Buff Johnson
Joined Dec 19, 2005
1,506 points
Jan 8, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Mean Green P2
The strength of the rock is not really a determining factor here. It is the rock-ice interface that matters most. If the rock is super smooth, the ice will have a poorer bond to the rock. Also, if it is warmer and the rock has a darker colour, it could facilitate warming and therefore melting and delaminating the ice. Realistically, if it is cold or fat, not really an issue to the climber. It is pretty amazing how little ice is needed to hold the weight of a human. jack s.
From Kamloops, BC
Joined Jan 11, 2011
12 points
Jan 8, 2013
When I lived in NY we used to climb long routes that were bonded to slate and shale. No way you'd climb those places in the summer, the rock wouldn't hold body weight. But, when you add water, especially in between the layers of shale, it all gets more solid. You could make moves on the rock, gingerly.

Sometimes if there was a lot of water/ice, it was clear that the ice column was more solid than the loose stack of rock behind it.
Joined Oct 23, 2012
10 points
Jan 8, 2013
Rock Climbing Photo: Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
I would think sandstone or limestone that has seeps and runoff would be better for holding ice than a smooth quartzite. Lighter colors makes sense too, as mentioned above for the heat factor. Lighter granites have texture to hold the ice, and stay cooler. Sedimentary rock seems to be the best guess. Our concrete silo where we make ice, is light in color, and has steel rung/bands every 30 inches. That rung helps hold the ice, besides the rugged concrete. Amazing how little ice is needed to be climbable.,,,and this is always dead vertical or overhanging on the silo too. Woodchuck ATC
Joined Nov 29, 2007
3,281 points

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