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training for ice climbing
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Oct 2, 2012
So, other than doing pullups on my ice tools and dry tooling up the stairs at my apartment (might freak out my neighbors and piss off my landlord), i don't really know know how i can specifically train for ice climbing without any ice routes. i've been climbing 3-5 days a week in the gym and doing p90x to work out.

are there any top roped mixed climbs near denver, or does anyone have some good ideas to train for ice?

From Morrison, CO
Joined Apr 18, 2011
0 points
Oct 2, 2012
be careful with pull ups, blowing out elbows or shoulders will keep you off the ice.

I find the limiting factor in my ice climbing is the ability to hang onto my tools, therefore I do deadhangs to failure, intermixed with throwing figure fours on each arm for core strength.

Others will chime in with volumes on how to train, take from here and there and make up a routine that works for you.
Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Joined Feb 8, 2010
165 points
Oct 2, 2012
It doesn't directly answer your question, but there is no better way to train for ice climbing than climbing ice. Becoming experienced enough to climb efficiently is more important than strength training. Some of the stronger people I know have become too pumped to climb after about 10 metres of WI3 because they were death gripping their tools.

Of course a little strength can't hurt either, but you don't have to be particularly sttrong to climb WI5.
jack s.
From Kamloops, BC
Joined Jan 11, 2011
0 points
Oct 2, 2012
I would agree that actual ice climbing is the best means of training. My reasoning is that getting your tools and crampons to properly stick in the ice is the most fundamental and critical aspect of ice climbing and being good at this makes all the difference. Obviously physical training would be beneficial. I don't have these yet but I hear good things about them and plan on getting some to train on. Michael C
From New Jersey
Joined Jun 9, 2011
190 points
Oct 2, 2012 Andy Hansen
From Longmont, Colorado
Joined Sep 26, 2009
2,068 points
Oct 2, 2012
Andy Hansen wrote:

Jon H
From Boulder
Joined Nov 24, 2009
13 points
Oct 2, 2012
+1 for the ATC--super fun, good crew, you'll meet other climbers, and you will get STRONG. coppolillo
Joined Sep 9, 2009
0 points
Oct 2, 2012
At Home Pre-Season Ice Workout
1. Calf Raises on stairs with body weight
2. Squats with body weight, (use a chair as index point to stop at)
3. Dead hangs to failure on tools
4. Tricep dips on stairs
5. Arm/Tricep extensions with bungee cord attached to solid object at shoulder height
6. Planks on elbows/toes and side planks on elbows/side of foot
7. Ab Strap Leg Lifts (find Golds Gym Brand $10-$12 for a set)
8. Figure 4's if you are doing overhanging mixed
9. Obtain a Foam Roller and roll out Quads, Calves, Back, and IT Bands
10. Yoga and stretching

Start workout with 5-10 min of light aerobic.
Roll and stretch or Yoga
Roll and stretch
Drink lots of good water
Harry Richardson
Joined Apr 12, 2010
0 points
Oct 2, 2012
Will Gadd's book "Ice & Mixed Climbing: Modern Technique" has a good chapter on training. I used it last year... and then winter skipped my part of the country almost completely.

One I remember specifically is overhead arm extensions using your ice tool - with moderate weight attached to the head of the tool.

Jeff Maurin
Joined Nov 7, 2010
0 points
Oct 2, 2012
I followed the training regimens in Will Gadd's book on ice climbing

It worked really well for the pre-season. Totally manageable workouts for a variety of levels. For me, it made me confident that I was pushing hard enough, but not over-training or risking injury.

During the ice season, doing tons of laps on top-rope is sick training for strength, endurance and efficiency (as others wrote before me)

I also nailed short pieces of 2x4 to an overhanging tree limb.
Joined Nov 30, 2009
0 points
Oct 2, 2012
4-7 below should help round out your training.

  • *************************************************************

Just for fun, here is an internet classic from the mid 90's when I was starting out on ice. Rec.climbing was the place to discuss climbing back in the day.....f**k I am getting old.
To find out if ice climbing is for you,

1. Ask, read, and loose as much sleep as possible wondering what style of ice gear
is right for you.

2. Bring you VISA card to your closest climbing store and spend all of next year's
disposable income on equipment that somebody in rec.climbing recommended based on

3. Hide the gear at home and try to control the fear that the thought of "your
wife finding out that you just spend $3K that you didn't have" will bring to your

4. Using a 10 lbs. frozen sea bass, smash the backside your fingers until you
can't hold the frozen carcass any longer.

5. In front of an open refrigerator, strip to your underwear, place 10 or 12 ice
cubes around your testicles, poor a gallon of cold water over your head, and
repeat "Man... This is f*cking great!".

6. Tie yourself to a massive object just under the balconies of your local
retirement home, display a sign that reads "Safe my future... Reduce Social
Security benefits now!", and try to survive the barrage of large hurling objects
coming your way.

7. Ask your neighbor to tie his Rottweiler with a shoelace at the other side of a
4 foot fence. Smack the dog a couple of times and repeat "If the string breaks,
the fence will hold him back... the fence will hold... the fence will hold..."

8. Call-in thick Friday morning. Jump in the car with a couple of guy with
questionable personal hygiene and drive for 13 hours strait. Get our of the car,
realize that there is no ice to be climbed and return home feeling still exited
about the prospects for ice climbing the next weekend.

9. Find out, from your new friends, that half of the gear that you bought in step
#2 is really worthless and that "...only 'Posers' buy that stuff".

and finally,

10. Over a romantic dinner, tell your wife that she will be on-her-own for
Thanksgiving, X-mas, New Year's, Martin Luther King Day, and Presidents' Day,
because you will be driving "up-north" with "the guys".
George Marsden
Joined Oct 16, 2005
0 points
Oct 3, 2012
thanks for all the tips guys! and i like the humor George.

As far as the alpine training center, if i could train there on the weekends, i would, but i can't go during the week due to other obligations. so at home work outs or stuff i can do at the climbing gym in thornton would be best, and maybe some outdoor training on the weekends.

As far as technique, i know that i can really only get that from actually climbing ice. This is my third season on ice, and last season i climbed mostly WI5's, so i feel like my technique is coming along, however i felt like endurance and strength limited me on some climbs, i just want to be in shape for the season.
From Morrison, CO
Joined Apr 18, 2011
0 points

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