Normally there's a lot of ice in the Canadian Rockies by this time of year. And, in general, there is enough now for most people. But I need dead-vertical big chunks of it, and there's not much of that around yet. The normal pillars haven't formed, and most of the bigger routes aren't that steep or are under some horrendous avi hazard. But I'm on this 24-hour ice climbing kick at the moment, and I need to climb a lot of vertical ice... Bitch bitch, solve the problem: my own ice training wall in the backyard!!
Now I could have hung hoses and messed about, which might have been neater looking and cooler, but I wanted to train later that day and it was nine in the morning. The solution was to bust out some power tools, duct tape and go-juice. My dad helped, and I was training on this thing by noon. Ten laps, swing at one round of wood, repeat.
If I get my butt on the ground (literally) and climb a little into the tree at the top so my hips get over the top of the wall I'm doing 16 feet up and 16 feet down, or 32 feet a lap. Thirty two laps is pretty close to 1,000 feet... I'm up to about 60 laps a session at the moment. It's incredibly, no, stunningly boring to do that much climbing in my backyard, but I can see the mountains the whole time, and it's pretty exciting when the wind blows really hard and my tree starts swaying around.
I am so stoked! Especially after driving for eight hours in the last two days and climbing exactly two meters of ice. There's lots of ice out there, but I'm after something specific...
Total cost of the Plywood Ice wall? $76. Love it.
Thanks to Margo Talbot for the iPhone camera work!