is very much in vogue at the moment; each winter we see more and more climbers making the switch from traditional rock climbing to stomping about in the white stuff.
Euro ice climbing trips have always been popular, but recent years have seen superb winter conditions arrive in the UK again. Here in Snowdonia, we have had some bumper seasons which have fuelled an unprecedented surge of activity. We’ve even got a new North Wales Winter Climbing
guide - providing the weather plays ball
- there has never been a better time to go winter climbing.
Winter climbing gear has improved enormously over the last twenty years. From curved shafted axes to mono point crampons and turf hooks, such as the DMM Bulldog
, the list of innovations is mind boggling. That said, the recent trend towards ‘leashless’, jug handled tools is probably the biggest breakthrough of all. For more on this check out the Ice Axes
Winter climbs vary enormously in style; just think of the different kinds of terrain that you will encounter on a single route: from steep icefalls and sketchy ice smears to frozen turf grooves and thrutchy rock chimneys. There might be hooky mixed sections or even perfect, squeeky neve runnels if you’re lucky.
It’s rare to spend a day, never mind a season, climbing only one style; what most of us need is a set of tools and crampons that can perform well, no matter what the route throws at us. Luckily the range on offer is both broad and diverse, and if you do want to specialise there’s a tool that fits the job.
You will also need a diverse armoury of protection to cope with the many and varied scenarios that are encountered during a typical winter season. Check out our Ice & Snow Protection
section for what’s on offer.
Keep an eye on our news page
during the winter months for new route info and conditions reports. We can also recommend Baggy’s blog
for the latest on the North Wales winter scene.