Ice climbing can offer the most fantastic experiences no matter what level you’re at. Whether you are a seasoned ice climbing pro, a nervous novice or just looking to dream, we have compiled a list of some brilliant destinations from around the world that are definitely worth adding to your bucket list.
Photo credit: Huw Gilbert
Rjukan, in Norway, is an ideal choice for an ice climbing trip. In particular, the waterfall ice is more easily accessible and the towns in the area are hugely set up for winter climbers. One of the draws to Rjukan is the remarkable range of grades on offer. This allows you to adjust the level of intensity according to your own progress.
Local guides will have the best knowledge of where to go and when, and will help you get the most out of your trip.
Otztal Valley, Austria
The Otztal Valley offers more ice climbing routes than anywhere else in the Tirol region. From beginner routes at the Kuhtaibacherl-fall waterfall to more advanced challenges in the Burgsteiner area. The approaches shouldn’t leave you exhausted either, with many taking less than an hour on foot.
A selection of our staff members recently took part in some ice climbing training here, which was hosted by The North Face.
Matanuska River Valley, Alaska
Alaska is a hotspot for exploring the ice. Root Glacier, based in Wrangell St. Elias National Park, offers a huge variety of routes to explore. Access is either by air to the nearby town of McCarthy or via the McCarthy Road which requires you to walk the last mile or so to the town.
Alternatively, the Matanuska River Valley is perhaps a little easier to get to via the Glenn Highway, and offers a huge range of creeks each with their own combination of routes to challenge yourself on.
Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina
Photo credit: Tolkeyen Patagonia Tourism
With a third of this National Park covered in ice - some of which towers over 1000m in the air - it is no surprise that it offers excellent ice climbing opportunities for those looking for their next challenge. Viedma glacier, in particular, offers mind-blowing scenery and is relatively unknown in comparison to the more popular, and unusually advancing, Perito Moreno glacier.
The winter climbing season generally falls between November and April, however do keep in mind that the weather in the Patagonia region is notoriously unpredictable.
The Highlands, Scotland
When in condition, Scotland is one of the best ice climbing venues in the world. There are a staggering number of climbs and the landscapes are open compared to the high, steep valleys of the Alps. The season can start as early as October, although the conditions often dictate the style of climbing - only mixed routes will be in condition this early in the season. Aviemore and Fort William are the main outdoor hubs and provide a great base for the surrounding mountains.
About the Author:
Charlotte Fish - Outdoor Expert
Charlotte discovered her passion for the outdoors in her early teens and has never looked back since. Her pursuit of outdoor activities has taken her all over the world but she truly believes there is no place like home.