When I started working at Experience Days the Discover IndoorIce Climbing Experience was one of the first supplier visits Charlotte and I were invited to. We were really looking forward to this experience, as neither of us had never been indoor ice climbing before. We took the train to London, as the experience was located as it was in Covent Garden. I had never been to Covent Garden before, it is a beautiful place filled with high end shops, as well as small markets.
The indoor ice climbing was located inside the Ellis Brigham mountain sport shop. As Charlotte and I arrived early we decided to have a look around the shop. It was filled with a wide range of mountain sport equipment and clothing. When it was time for Charlotte and I to begin our ice climbing adventure we went downstairs. We were presented with safety forms to filled in, we were then kindly introduced to Aaron and Patrick who our employees at the store as well as being trained in ice climbing. They got us all kitted up for the experience as well as briefing.
Once we filled out the forms, we entered the staff area next to the changing room to change into the suitable clothing. This included thick boots with metal in the front of them to protect your toes when kicking the ice to climb and a climbing crampon which was gripped to the soles of our shoes. This would help us while climbing in the ice and we had to kick our feet into the ice to balance and climb further up. We were also given trousers, socks, a waterproof jacket, and an ice climbing harness.
Before we entered the ice climbing room, we were warned that the temperature would be much cold ranges from -5°C to -7°C. Once in the room, Charlotte and I each had a one on one briefing with our own personal instructors. My instructor Aaron demonstrated the correct technique for ice climbing, showing me the ice axe, which is a special tool used to stab into the ice so you have a firm and steady grip. When it was my turn, he advised me to only take two steps. This was just to get comfortable with the technique. The ice climbing was harder than I thought it would be, but I like a challenge so I started to practice, Aaron explained to get good balance I would need to keep my hands and feet level with each other. He also told me that I did not need to axe the ice every time I wanted to move, as there were holes in the ice from where people had previously axed it. This made the climb a lot easier, because I wasn’t using all my energy to swing at the ice.
Aaron then attached the harness to the rope that he held on to it. This was to keep me safe if I slipped, or even if I needed a break (which I did often, as I overestimated my strength). I decided to go first, I was excited to see if I could get to the top and ring the bell. I struggled in the beginning but once I was around halfway to the top, I started to get the hang of it. Before I knew it, I had reached the top of the wall. It was then Charlotte’s turn to venture up the ice wall. She was hesitant at first, but with the encouragement of the instructors she powered through. Despite her nerves she climbed halfway up the wall!
We then had a choice of, climbing up the wall again with two ice axe, or we could challenging ourselves to only use one axe to climb. I decided to challenge myself and only use one axe. This was a lot harder than the first time because I only had one axe to rely on and to hold my weight. Eventually I reached halfway but I couldn’t get any further as I kept slipping. I have a very competitive spirit so I would love to go again and try to get to the top with only one axe.
Charlotte and I had a lovely time ice climbing! I had never done anything like this before which made it so much more enjoyable because we didn’t know what to expect. I will definitely be going again just to get to the top of the wall. I would like to say a huge thank you to Mark who invited us our instructors Aaron and Patrick for motivating us!