This weekend my dad and I went ice climbing. Decided normal climbing was just far too easy... (Not really! Got a longgg way to go with it). We had vouchers from Amazon Local, so headed to Snow Factor (previously Xscape) to check it out.
To be honest I wasn't overwhelmed by the organisation and company- our guide was late, which in an hour and a half session really cuts into time, and was very 'shruggy' about getting equipment, meaning it took near 20 mins to even get into the 'snowzone'.
He was pretty clear with explaining stuff, but there was a few things I was a bit uncomfortable with- firstly I was being belayed by someone (another student) who had never belayed before. And I didn't trust him. At. All. This was pretty much the reason that I didn't get to the top of the wall the first time and took a long time on it, I didn't want to take riskier steps because I didn't trust the catch if I fell unexpectedly. The lateness plus me being slow on time #1 meant we only got two goes on the wall. Not too bad for £15, but I would have been annoyed if we had paid the full £30.
|The Ice Wall that we were on|
Secondly, the wall was pretty low on ice- a lot of the foundation gratings were visible through. I know this doesn't impact the climbing that much as long as there is still ice available, but two other walls were closed because they needed redone, and it was clear this one was taking a beating.
Lastly, I know this was just an intro session but I expected still to get some climbing guidance when on the wall. Like feedback throughout. This wasn't given, and in fact the students almost ended up giving advice to one another like 'keep your heels down'. The instructor admitted he never gives advice on session 1.
Now! Enough moaning and onto the actual climbing. In ice climbing you have a pair of spiked boots (technically spiked boot attachments), crampons. These provide insane grip on ice, allowing you to walk down very steep ice and up it. You also have an ice axe in each hand.