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What state has the best ice climbing?

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What state has the best ice climbing?

Postby Josh Lewis » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:10 pm

In the United States what state has the best ice climbing? I'm not sure how true these claims are, but I hear Washington is some of the worst which makes me sad and want to explore other places around the country. And when I say best, I also mean abundant amounts of routes, and decent lasting ones.
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Re: What state has the best ice climbing?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:49 pm

Josh Lewis wrote:In the United States what state has the best ice climbing? I'm not sure how true these claims are, but I hear Washington is some of the worst which makes me sad and want to explore other places around the country. And when I say best, I also mean abundant amounts of routes, and decent lasting ones.


I would say Washington is in the top 12 best states for ice climbing. Florida would be worst on my list. By your parameters I would guess Alaska since it is cold for extended period of times and is vast so there must be lots of routes.
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Re: What state has the best ice climbing?

Postby mvs » Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:49 pm

Washington may not have much (or long lasting) water ice but alpine ice climbs like Chair Peak or Snoqualmie Peak are really, really nice. Excitable Boy and I have shared a few awesome pitches on the Chair! And it seems like Banff isn't too far away for motivated climbers to make the drive out there once or twice per season.
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Re: What state has the best ice climbing?

Postby Joe White » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:23 pm

The state of "drive to canada and stay in Canmore to climb in the Rockies" :)
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Re: What state has the best ice climbing?

Postby Josh Lewis » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:37 pm

Chair peak is certainly on my to do list! I want to get to it as soon as I can! I should probably do a practice ice climb first (because I have actually never ice climbed) and then have the avy danger low.
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Re: What state has the best ice climbing?

Postby Dow Williams » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:00 pm

Colorado has the most accessible and easiest to learn on Josh. Much of their backcountry ice is so easy to reach, it gets quite stepped out and picked out, meaning, for the grade, it is a lot easier to climb than the Canadian Rockies ice. I climb waterice in both places and CO would be by far the best place to learn and grow your skills. I have taught climbers in both places and you get so many more reps with less effort near Ouray. Don't get stuck in the ice park if you go there, tons of easy WI 4 ice to get on near by that gives you a much better feel for real climbing. Cheers.
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Re: What state has the best ice climbing?

Postby Liba Kopeckova » Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:05 pm

I agree with Dow - western Colorado is great for ice climbing, and rock climbing is not bad either - Ophir wall, Black Canyon, Unaweep + Moab and Indian Creek in Utah are just around the corner.
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Re: What state has the best ice climbing?

Postby Kenneth.alone » Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:22 am

Liba Hardekopf wrote:I agree with Dow - western Colorado is great for ice climbing, and rock climbing is not bad either - Ophir wall, Black Canyon, Unaweep + Moab and Indian Creek in Utah are just around the corner.



I agree as well, nothing that I have seen is as reasonable for learning and accessing as is Colorado. There are countless climbs there for nearly all ability levels.
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Re: What state has the best ice climbing?

Postby SKI » Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:37 am

I just got done reading about all of these FA's being put up outside Cody, WY. I hear that they have an abundance as well. But everyone- hell, anyone will tell you that for real ice, Canada is mecca.

I met a guy out at LVC that told me wild tales about his ascent of "Sea of Vapors" off Mount Rundle in Alberta...

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Re: What state has the best ice climbing?

Postby CClaude » Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:45 pm

For the best states of ice climbing....

unfortunately Alberta isn't a US state since it would probably blow everything else out of the water, but I love Canmore.

otherwise I'd say

a) Colorado- its fairly extensive with a wide range of difficulties and a lot of test pieces. It seems like everywhere you turn it has stuff.
b) Vermont: while not as a large range as Colorado, Lake Willoughby is such a quality place, it would put at #2 in my books. Smugglers Notch while fun is a fairly small area. Has a bunch of good climbs but still smallish.
c) Montana and Wyoming (isn't it just one state anyways: sorry guys.... had to do that).
d) New Hamphshire: North Conway and Cannon has some pretty good stuff. North Conway has a bunch of moderates and a few test pieces and modern test pieces dot the state
e) New York: the Daks have a bunch of stuff. A lot of moderates and a few test pieces, both traditional and modern. The Catskills has some good stuff with the Devils Kitchen being very good. A lot of stuff around New Paltz seems to me to have access issues.

For learning to ice climb, the Daks in New York and North Conway are actually really good places. New Hampshire may actually before Monta/Wyoming in my books.... gotta think about it.


Washington is too fickle. I'd like to do some of the more alpine stuff but you really need to be a local since the temps are fickle. California: Lee Vining is ok but you REALLY can quickly out climb it. The stuff in Yosemite is really fickle and it collapses quickly. There is a scattering in the Sierras but not enough to make it a national class venue. Minnesota and Wisconsin: some natural stuff (Minnihaha Falls, along the North Shore and the Mississippi River) and some farmed stuff (Sand (something... its been a couple of years), Brickyards). The test pieces tend to be the farmed stuff. North Carolina (not joking): talk about fickle, but some test pieces do come in wheen the conditions warrent. Pennsylvania: it comes in but the state seems very anti-climbing with its laws. Some at the Delaware Water Gap which can be fickle but good although moderate. Arizona: seen some long lines form in Oak Creek Canyon but talk about fickle and much will require extensive dry tooling to get to. Paradise Forks occassionally forms up a line in Silver canyon. There are lines on the Navajo Reservation ( a 4 pitch thing being one) but is strictly off-limits.

Am I missing anything? I suppose Iowa with the frozen farm silo's puts a new spin on the term "farming ice" Don't know about Michigan or Nebraska since I haven't climbed there.
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Re: What state has the best ice climbing?

Postby Josh Lewis » Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:04 pm

Thanks folks for the info! :D Now I'm even more wanting to get a passport, my friend Mark told me Canada was a pretty cool place when he went for a multi day ice climbing trip. Says he's going again which Ivery much would love to join but can't partly on account of passport issue (that's not the only reason). So it sounds like I should feast my interests more into Canada, I hear they got some pretty sweet peaks in there as well. Me personally I am more interested in alpine ice climbing rather than just ice water falls (although they still sound like fun). I consider now the crux for me because startng out with anything is always the hardest part. :wink:
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Re: What state has the best ice climbing?

Postby CClaude » Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:37 pm

If you are interested in alpine ice, I'd still get good at hard waterfall ice. If you can't do the climbing on a 1 pitch wonder you certainly can't do it in the alpine environment. Experienced this in Peru once, where my partner had an impressive alpine resume, but when we got onto something I thought was only pretty technical it was above his experience level, and we couldn't finish the climb since he couldn't do the moves and basically got freaked. The following winter I took him ice cragging and brought him out on stuff that freaked him out on the technical scale, but the following summer he went back and hiked the route in Peru.
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Re: What state has the best ice climbing?

Postby chugach001 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:55 am

Valdez
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Re: What state has the best ice climbing?

Postby Dow Williams » Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:24 pm

Josh, your question inspired me to reformat the ice climbing forum to help answer your question or at least allow you to study it at a quicker glance....cheers
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