The Thrills of Ice Climbing

Have you always been curious about ice climbing? We’ve laid out all of the basics you’ll need to start your ice climbing journey, including gear, knowledge, and encouragement. By the end of this article, you’ll be all set to join VEGA for an Ice Experience in 2024!

Conquer Frozen Peaks

Imagine standing at the base of a frozen waterfall, the world around you transformed into a crystalline masterpiece. The glistening ice formations stretch upward, their intricate details reflecting the soft, diffused sunlight. It’s as if you’ve stepped into a surreal, icy wonderland, a realm untouched by time, where nature has sculpted its own masterpiece.

With ice tools in hand and crampons securely fastened to your boots, you embark on this daring adventure. As you make your first move, the satisfying crunch of your crampons biting into the ice resonates through the stillness of the frozen landscape. Your heart beats in rhythm with the task at hand, and a sense of exhilaration courses through your veins.

Each movement is a delicate dance, a symphony of skill and strength. Your ice tools become extensions of your arms, their sharp picks biting into the blue-tinged ice with precision. The connection between you and the frozen terrain is intimate and intense, as you adapt to the ever-changing conditions. The ice under your hands and feet is your canvas, and you are the artist, creating a masterpiece of your own ascent.

As you ascend, your senses are heightened. The crisp, frigid air fills your lungs with each breath, and the cool, clean scent of the ice surrounds you. The world below shrinks in significance as you rise higher, leaving behind the everyday concerns and worries. In this ethereal landscape, your focus narrows to the present moment, the very next move, and the sheer wonder of your surroundings.

The towering ice formations challenge your resolve, but they also inspire a sense of awe. The beauty of the ice, its transparent, glass-like quality, and the way it catches the light, creating a sparkling, otherworldly effect, combine to make this adventure truly awe-inspiring. With each swing of your ice tools and each placement of your crampons, you venture further into this frozen domain. The path ahead is uncertain, and the ice, in all its unpredictable glory, becomes your guide and your opponent. The world of ice climbing is not just a physical endeavor; it’s a mental and emotional journey that tests your courage, adaptability, and determination.

As you cling to the frozen waterfall, the culmination of your efforts, the world is not just transformed; it is transcendent. You are suspended between earth and sky, between ordinary and extraordinary, and the sense of accomplishment and sheer thrill of being in this extraordinary place is overwhelming. This is the thrilling and awe-inspiring world of ice climbing. It’s a journey into the heart of nature’s frozen beauty, where the surreal becomes real and where every move is an ode to your passion, your courage, and your connection with the wild, wondrous world of ice.

Thrill Seekers 

Ice climbing is more than just a sport; it’s a captivating journey into a world of pure adrenaline, precision, and natural beauty. There are many reasons that this sport has captivated so many of us. 

The combination of steep ice walls, frigid temperatures, and the fear of the unknown creates a natural rush of adrenaline that keeps your senses alive. Unlike rock climbing, ice formations are ever-changing, making each climb a unique and unpredictable challenge. Climbers must adapt to the ice’s shifting conditions.

Ice climbers have the privilege of accessing some of the most breathtaking and remote landscapes on Earth, often under a blanket of pristine, untouched snow. Ice climbing requires intense mental focus and problem-solving skills. As you ascend, you must make quick decisions, adapt to changing conditions, and remain calm under pressure.

Essential Gear for Ice Climbing

So what do you need to get started? Ice climbing demands specialized gear to ensure safety and success. Here’s a list of the essential items you’ll need:

Ice Tools

These are the primary instruments for ice climbing. They come in various styles for different types of ice and climbing styles.


Essential for traction, crampons are equipped with metal spikes that attach to your climbing boots.


Protecting your head from falling ice and gear is of paramount importance.

Harness and Belay Device

Standard rock climbing harnesses and belay devices are used for ice climbing.

Photo ©La Sportiva / Dale Remaberg

Ice Screws

These act as anchor points in the ice, offering security during your ascent.

Warm Clothing

Dressing warm with insulated boots and quality base layers is necessary to stay warm in frigid conditions.

Photo ©Gear Junkie / Bergen Tjossem

Ice Climbing Gloves

These specialized gloves provide dexterity while protecting your hands from cold and sharp ice.

If you don’t have the complete list of items here, Vertical Endeavors has you covered. On our VEGA Ice Experience trips, all you need are warm, layered clothing and the mental fortitude for the challenge ahead.

Vertical Endeavors: Guided Ice Climbing Adventures

Vertical Endeavors is an experienced climbing company that has taken their passion for ice climbing to the next level by offering guided ice climbing trips with Vertical Endeavors Guided Adventures (VEGA). Their team of dedicated ice climbing fanatics provides expert guidance, safety, and local knowledge to create unforgettable experiences. Here are some reasons to consider Vertical Endeavors for your next ice climbing adventure: 

Expert Guides

Vertical Endeavors’ guides are not just instructors; they are true ice climbing enthusiasts who share your passion for the sport and know the best local ice climbing destinations.

Safety First

Safety is their top priority. With extensive experience and knowledge, the guides ensure that participants are equipped with the necessary skills and gear to have a safe and fun ice climbing experience.

Local Expertise

Vertical Endeavors knows the hidden gems of ice climbing in Minnesota and beyond. They’ll take you to the most stunning and challenging ice formations!

Get Climbing! 

Ice climbing is an exhilarating and breathtaking adventure that takes you to remote, icy landscapes, pushes your limits, and connects you with the natural world. The heart-pounding excitement of scaling frozen waterfalls is an experience like no other. Whether you’re a seasoned ice climber or a curious beginner, Vertical Endeavors, based in Minnesota, offers expert-guided trips led by dedicated ice climbing fanatics that are your perfect opportunity to embark on your next ice climbing adventure. So gear up, embrace the thrill, and conquer the frozen peaks in the enchanting world of ice climbing.

Our first VEGA Ice Experience will be on January 20, 2024, from 9 AM–3 PM. View our VEGA page to view our full ice climbing calendar, register for a session, or sign up for a private lesson!

Climbing is dangerous, it involves inherent and other risks and cannot be eliminated. The information presented here does not describe all of the risks associated with climbing and is not intended to replace or supersede expert instruction and training.

© 2023 Vertical Endeavors, Inc. All rights reserved. The contents of this article, photographs, and graphical representations are protected by U.S. and International copyright laws. Reproduction and distribution, in part or whole, without written permission from Vertical Endeavors are prohibited. The opinions and information contained in this article are for entertainment and informative purposes. They are those of the author and may not represent those of Vertical Endeavors, and do not necessarily reflect the ideas, ideologies, opinions, or points of view of the organization, affiliates, owners, stockholders, partners, suppliers, licensors, or staff. Under no circumstances shall Vertical Endeavors or any entity that is, has been, or will be affiliated be liable for any indirect, incidental, consequential, special, or exemplary damages arising out of or in connection with the information contained in this article.