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What is summer icecimbing

What is Summer Iceclimbing and what you should know about it

There is a point of view that climbing ice is a purely winter kind of activity only. Such an idea certainly has the right to exist. Definitely, the winter iceclimbing is much more diverse, interesting, cooler and brighter, but nevertheless, this sport can also be practiced in the summer months - with a certain difference in geography and some technical aspects. So, what is summer iceclimbing?

Summer iceclimbing

First, in the summer season you can forget about such exquisite pleasure as climbing frozen waterfalls, if only you are not too lazy to fly to those lands where everything is frozen and covered with snow in summer. But as applied to the realities of our northern hemisphere, where summer, after all, is the season quite warm, climbing the summer ice is possible only on the glaciers located at the altitude that precludes or retards their rapid melting. That is, high in the mountains, on the slopes and breakes of the glaciers, you can find quite decent verticals for practicing this very interesting type of activity. However, the specificity of summer iceclimbing lies precisely in the fact that no glacier will provide you with the diversity and pleasure that lies in the real seasonal winter iceclimbing.

Iceclimbing in the summer

For a better understanding of the details, let's introduce to the text two definitions - "cold" ice and "warm" ice. Cold ice is formed from flowing water at temperatures below zero and has a high density, plasticity and high reliability for climbing and protection. "Warm" ice is a perennial substance of uneven density which forms most of the high mountain glaciers massifs. Climbing "cold" and "warm" ice differs by the level of quality of the protection, security of the belay points, the possibility of using various iceclimbing technics, and the general variety of the routes.

Iceclimbing in the summer

Summer iceclimbing is significantly limited in its technical details due to the peculiarities of the glacial structure and the density of the summer "warm" ice. Lets say that in the summer it is possible to climb exclusively on the not steep faces of the mountain glaciers of the moderate inclination - from easy slopes to moderately overhanging glacier breaks - seracs, primarily focusing on choosing the iceclimbing site according to the considerations of the lowest level of the objective danger - especially considering the glacier mobility and tendency of the seracs to unforeseen collapsing. The low density of the "warm" ice and, often, its high sponginess, do not provide high reliability of the protection, therefore, all sorts of the gymnastic iceclimbing tricks which are possible on the dense "cold" ice are not available in the summer. Similarly, the reliability of the belay points on the "warm" ice requires special care when leading and organizing the belay stations - as a rule, in our summer iceclimbing sessions we organize top rope belay to reduce the risk of accidental breakdown of the intermediate belaying point. Given these technical subtleties, it is quite possible to estimate the usefulness of iceclimbing training on the "warm" summer ice, which, of course, provide a lot of fun and necessary skills both with considering physical activity, but cannot be opposed to the normal iceclimbing training on the winter ice - frozen waterfalls and cascades.

Iceclimbing in the summer

Summer iceclimbing fully fits into various acclimatization programs of different intensity, is suitable for learning the basic techniques of climbing and protection on the ice, it fully prepares for the climbing the alpine routes, containing the steep ice or mixed obstacles. But in order to perfectize the iceclimbing technique, to work out a good "feel of ice" - the ability to be confident on the steep ice and use it for climbing and protection, it is necessary to become familiar with the real "cold" winter ice.

As I resume the above written: summer iceclimbing is a quite possible and interesting variant of the mountain activity, which has the right to exist in the frame of any training and educational or acclimatization mountaineering programs. But for exploring the subtleties and peculiarities of the classic iceclimbing - the summer "warm" ice is not as useful as winter ice, and therefore, it can not be considered as a good training iceclimbing relief.

Text — Alexey Trubachev, founder of the MCS AlexClimb mountaineering and climbing school.

Our Principles

AlexClimb Rule #1 - Safety First

From the very beginning of our activity, here nearly 16 years, the first Principle of work of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb is the Safety Priority. On the basis of this Principle all process of training is based, all programs and rounds are developed and carried out only within this main principle. We consider that at professional approach to development of programs, at personal discipline and correctly put motivation - occupations by mountaineering and rock-climbing are COMPLETELY safe. And from the return - all troubles and accidents in our sport come from nonprofessionalism, from ignorance or neglect by elementary standards of safety, from irrational motivation, from revaluation of own forces and opportunities. All these prerequisites we COMPLETELY EXCLUDE in our work - ours Rock-climbing, Ice climbing and Mountaineering are based on one Principle - the Safety Priority. In rock-climbing, mountaineering and ice climbing, the Priority of Safety of MCS AlexClimb-is your personal security and comfort irrespective of, than we are engaged - we train muscles and we work technology of the movement in the sports hall and on the rock climbing wall, we make the way through snowstorm to top or we relax on golden sand of the Caribbean beach after hot day of trainings on rocks. The Safety priority - the main credo of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb.

AlexClimb Rule #2 - Leave No Trace

Closely interacting with Nature, working with the active programs in mountains, woods, lakes and rivers, we perfectly understand the importance of carefull and respectfull bahavior towards the Nature, for its resources. From the very beginning of our outdoor-activity we adopted rules of  Leave No Trace technique - the standard of behavior of the person accepted in all the civilized world in relation to environment and especially - to the wild nature. After all on the relation of people to the nature near which they exist, itself can draw dalekoidushchy conclusions on the relation of these people to... Where and as we didn't travel - we don't reserve any garbage, we try to reduce whenever possible our influence on environment to a minimum. We clear earlier zagryazyonny tourist parking of the left garbage, we take out and we take out to utilization places that to us other people left there. We consider that only thus, at personal individual consciousness of each citizen, each tourist, climber or autotraveller, we will be able to keep the nature surrounding us in its state, natural, suitable for life, - in it pledge of the healthy future for ourselves and our children.

AlexClimb Rule #3 - Sober Concious

The position of AlexClimb Mountain and rockclimbing School regarding healthy lifestyle is quite clear - we consider that only sober consciousness is capable to fill sincere emotions,  to sympathize, to enjoy life in all its variety. Bright various enjoyable life is possible only on condition of keeping the absolute sobriety and purity of consciousness. Any way of obscuring our perception of reality is intended to do harm to our consciousness and bring harm to our physical health, to replace the true values by false ones, to destroy us physically - to turn us into flabby, weak, senseless, gray herd with empty hazy eyes. We don't force anybody to our point of view, everyone has a God's gift of making his own choice and to destroy himself if that is what he wants... But in AlexCilimb Mountain Climbing School we accept quite certain and very simple set of rules: neither alcohol, nor drugs.