A very interesting question arises in one’s mind – is ice climbing a sport? Ice climbing is, in fact, a sport. It’s a high-intensity physical exercise that’s starting to gain popularity in the competition world. This establishes ice climbing as a legitimate sport.
Ice Climbing and Physical Exertion
Ice climbing is unique in that it is a full-body workout that can continue up to a whole day. You’re on your feet for hours at a time, typically with a hefty backpack and a lot of gear on your back—and that’s before you start climbing. Let’s break down the physical intensity of ice climbing into individual body sections to better understand how it affects your body.
When you’re ice climbing, your arms and shoulders take the bulk of the punishment. It’s no wonder that your forearms tire quickly and cramp up when you’re carrying your entire weight on them. Your biceps might be worn out by holding yourself straight with your axes for purchase.
Because of the repetitive swinging motion required to drive your ax into the ice, the shoulders see a lot of movement. Before the pick sticks into the ice, you may need to swing 3-5 times while carrying a 5-pound weight fully extended over your head. On a 30-meter ice climb, all of those swings add up to around 8 inches of vertical distance.
Your calves will be incredibly sore after a day of ice climbing in terms of the lower body. This is due to the effort necessary to maintain your balance while your crampons are pressed into the ice. It’s similar to doing a calf raise, except you have to hold it for 10 minutes while working your way up the wall.
Only calves are not the only muscles that get pumped up in the workout. As you kick your way into the ice, your quads and glutes will be engaged.
When ice climbing, your core is also vital, despite the fact that it is often disregarded. On the walk-in, it’ll get a little activation to help keep you steady when your load tries to pull you in a different way.
To keep your tools from losing their grip on the ice, you’ll need superb balance and body placement. To avoid this, you’ll need to strengthen your abs and core.
Finally, you’ll need a lot of muscle stamina to keep all of these movements going for long periods of time. Because your forearms and calves will need to be consistently stimulated for the duration of your climb, they will experience the most strain.
Ice climbing necessitates a high level of expertise. Knowing where to put your axes and feet, how to get the most force into your swing, and how to move so that your tools stay properly loaded are all abilities that take years to master.
Ice Climbing Competitions
The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA), which has established a World Cup circuit for the sport, hosts the majority of ice climbing competitions. Many smaller regional competitions will be held in the United States and Europe, which will assist people to become more accustomed to the World Cup structure.
Climbers compete in two main sports: sport climbing and sport bouldering. Lead and Speed.
Lead competitions take place on overhanging terrain that is designed to allow ice climbers to complete a range of complex, dynamic maneuvers. Artificial ice climbing structures are frequently used in the routes, which helps to standardize the competition and makes it easier for route setters to design hard sequences.
Speed competitions are less well-known, but they’re gaining appeal due to their ease, intensity, and entertainment value. The rules are straightforward: the first person to reach the summit wins. Some competitions require everyone to climb the same wall and compare times, while others pit climbers against each other in a head-to-head struggle.
These races are held on real ice, with climbers on the top rope to avoid injury in the event of a fall. The races are frequently completed in twenty seconds or fewer, and the routes are 15-20 meters long.