I’ve never wanted to go ice climbing. Tales of broken ankles and the legendary “screaming barfies” had sufficiently dampened my interest. I mean really, the acute sensation of wanting to scream and barf simultaneously occurs so often in this sport that there’s a designated name for it? I’ll stick to skiing, thanks.
But when it doesn’t snow I start to live more and more in the horizontal world. Too cold to ride, but not cold enough to ski- it’s the worst time. I dont get hungry but I eat out of boredom. I don’t get tired, but I can sleep until noon if I don’t set an alarm. I run errands, I go to work, and I watch my winter blubber develop with a sort of detached, vague interest.
I didn’t realize it but climbing some ice was just what I needed. On a very base level it’s kind of like a vertical tantrum. You’re pretty much just kicking and punching at a wall, which is quite satisfying, but there’s also a beautiful, simple absurdity to it. It shouldn’t be possible to move vertically up ice, but somehow the ground shrinks away and then you’re just listening to the distant blurble of water, searching for the next dish to whack your tool into. Three quarters of the way through, your hands do indeed get so cold that you want to scream and barf at the same time, but somehow that’s less important than you thought it would be.