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midwest alpine training

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midwest alpine training

Postby rnrescue » Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:45 am

I live in southern Wisconsin and want to work on glacier travel, self arrest and general winter alpine travel skills. I am a confident sport climber and am hoping to train here so when I get west I will be ahead of the game. Anybody have tips for this? I was thinking of finding steep terrain to practice self arrest skills - anybody ever do this away from true mountains?
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Re: midwest alpine training

Postby ExcitableBoy » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:07 pm

My very best climbing partner (as well as my wife) are from Wisconsin. They both went to Devil's Lake to go rock climbing and to Michigan to go ice climbing. One thing you could do is find the nearest ski hill and practice your self arrest, cramponing/French Technique, ice axe skills, anchor builiding, zxc hauling systems, etc.
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Re: midwest alpine training

Postby BigMitch » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:05 pm

As Excitable Boy is right. Go to your local downhill ski hill or perhaps, a river bluff to practice.

According to the book "Ice Climbs of the Lake Superior Region," there is natural ice climbing at Starved Rock State Park (IL), Lone Rock -50 miles west of Madison, Governor Dodge State Park (Dodgeville) and Wyalusing State Park.

Otherwise, head to the Ice Pit in Green Bay, Sandstone in MN for farmed ice, or the Michigan Ice Fest or Nippigon Ice Fest.
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Re: midwest alpine training

Postby ExcitableBoy » Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:48 pm

One thing you could do is get into snow shoeing and go for overnight snow shoe hikes. This will aid in general conditioning and more importantly you will learn what clothing systems work best for you in different temperatures. Also, a lot of winter backpacking and camping skills are directly relatable to mountaineering.
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Re: midwest alpine training

Postby rnrescue » Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:05 am

Thanks for the replies. Luckily the weather has really turned out for late season work at devils lake. I'm looking forward to the first snow to get the snowshoes out and hike. Also love the idea of getting to a local ski hill to practice some crampon/ice axe technique. Do you think any local ski hills will accommodate me? My guess is no, but maybe if routes aren't open or something ...
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Re: midwest alpine training

Postby BigMitch » Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:20 pm

The best time to hit the ski hills is after they close in mid-March. You will have 2-3 weeks to practice on the snow. Otherwise, get there very early in the morning, avoid the groomers, and be off when the lifts open.

BTW: There is much to do in the Upper Midwest in winter besides ice climbing. Nordic skiing being the best sport. Having done several snowshoe marathons, I think they are a waste of good snow.

If you interested in hard-core cold weather endurance events, check out the winter ultras like the Arrowhead Ultra, the Tuscobia Winter Ultra, the Triple D, and the Frozen Otter. You will meet a lot of hard-core adventure addicts at these events. 8) Scared people tend not to show up at the start line of the Arrowhead Ultra when it is -20F with night time temps approaching -40F. :shock:
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Re: midwest alpine training

Postby BigMitch » Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:25 pm

One more thing. There is talk of a 300 mile winter ultra (Tour de Cheese Head) in March. Rice Lake-Superior-Ashland-Park Falls, WI.

No need to travel to Alaska for the Iditasport Extreme when you can spend a week suffering not far from home.
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