In an effort to make the long Canadian winter a bit more exciting, Paul and I started researching extreme winter activities. It wasn’t long before we discovered the extreme sport of “ice climbing” and jumped at the opportunity to try it out. Not only was it a ton of fun, but it was exactly the exciting activity we needed to get outdoors in the middle of the winter.
Booking Our Adventure
We found this ice climbing adventure on a website called BuckitLife. BuckitLife allows you to create your own bucket list of unique activities, and you can easily book each activity through their website (see my bucket list right here). Not only was booking easy to do, but if you do have any questions their customer service is fantastic. The ice climbing adventure was exactly as they described it, and I had all of the information I needed before booking.
What to Bring
We were provided all of the equipment necessary for ice climbing – including special boots. You have to use the provided boots because they have have unique grooves that the crampons fit into.
However, you should be sure to bring the following:
- Winter coat
- Winter pants (Paul wore snowboarding pants, and I wore fleece-lined wind resistant winter leggings)
- Gloves (If possible, bring one thin pair and one extra warm pair)
- Winter hat
- Lunch, water & snacks
To stay warm it’s best that you dress in layers. It’s surprising warm once you get climbing, so some people ended up taking off their winter jackets and climbing in spring jackets (with a sweater underneath) instead.
What to Expect
The day started with two hours of indoor training. We learned how to tie our ropes, how to belay and how to use the equipment. If you’ve ever rock climbed, you’ll find that ice climbing is the same difficulty level – but the technique is completely different. Our instructors provided us with fun, practical advice that made the entire experience much easier. With the entire group able to follow their advice, not a single one of us had any difficulty climbing later in the day.
Once we were trained and suited up, we headed outside and walked to the ice climbing location. The walk was less than 5 minutes from the office, and as soon as we reached our location I was amazed by the sight! Not only was the giant ice wall beautiful, but we were in the heart of the Elora Gorge with water rushing past us. It was the most incredible setting for such an exciting day.
There were four different climbing spots, and we had about four hours of climbing time. Working in pairs (or groups of three) we took turns climbing the different sections while belaying each other. The instructors were there for safety checks at all times, but they also offered plenty of tips to help us navigate our way up the ice wall. It was a fun challenge trying to get to the top of the wall on each of the four sections!
Ice climbing ended up being an incredible workout, but it didn’t come without a few sore muscles the next day. Easing minor muscle pains was the perfect excuse to end our weekend with hot apple cider and a dip in our hot tub! To see all the action from our ice climbing adventures, check out the video below. To book your own ice climbing day (or any other exciting activity) check out the BuckitLife website.