When the ice is in - the climbing is on!
Presenting the new ICE CORRIDOR at Rocktown...
Given the warming trend we do not anticipate opening the ice climb to the public on Sunday, 12/30/12 for ice climbing. Stay tuned for updates on development of future ice climbing opportunities via this page and social media.
The ice climb will re-open at 11:00 am on Saturday 12/29/12 at 11:00 am for more ice climbing. Like yesterday, access to the climbs and training is on a first-come first-served basis. There is limited space for ice climbing so we'll be taking turns.
Other notes from yesterday still apply...see below.
As of today (Thursday) the ice climbs have been "tested" (i.e. climbed multiple times by staff eager to try themout!) and determined to be ready for opening. The window of opportunity is narrow and we can't say how long the conditions or ice will last but we will be open to ice climbing on Friday 12/28/12 at NOON and remain open for as long as we see fit.
This is a first-come first-served basis. It should be noted that the current conditions present difficult climbing (WI5 to WI5+) and not great for those brand new to ice climbing. That doesn't mean that you can't give it a shot, it just means the climbing is going to be challenging - so be prepared for an experience!
HELMETS ARE MANDATORY IN THE ICE CORRIDOR AND ONLY TRAINED CLIMBERS ARE ALLOWED INSIDE THE GATED ARE. EVERYONE MUST COMPLETE OUR 2012 VERSION ICE CLIMBING WAIVER.
Cost is $60 (or $35 for Rocktown members)
Includes Introduction to Ice Climbing, Rental Gear (boots, crampons, ice axes, harness, helmet)
access to the NEW Ice Corridor, and a belay!
For seasoned/experienced ice climbers we offer our standard Rocktown day rates.
Rentals are $12 (ice axes, boots, crampons)
Rocktown is the only full-service climbing gym in the county that brings you 100% REAL ice climbing during the coldest winter months!
For all other times of the year we offer a "dry-tooling" ice climbing route that features drilled pockets, handmade features for dry-tooling and Ice Holdz, holds that you can swing ice axes into.
Please note: These certifications do not cover belaying. The Belay/Safety Training Course, is a prerequiste.
Dry-Tool Route Safety Certification - $6
Offered during the year except for when the real ice climb is in. Certification covers basic safety and training only and does not include ice gear rentals ($10) or climbing pass (see rates). Generally offered on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 pm. Call ahead.
Real-Ice Climbing Training/Certification (when in season - check Facebook for conditions):
Includes specialized instruction on safety and technique for equipment usage and ice climbing. Also includes use of ice climbing equipment (ice axes, boots, and crampons) and about 1.5 hours of climbing time. Reservations are required and time slots are limited. Sessions are generally offered 3-4 times each day the ice climb is open.
Ice Gear Rental
Ice Gear Package - $10
Includes the shared use of ice axes, boots, and crampons. We are limited on ice gear so the use of the gear is shared among others who wish to use it at the same time. In other words, anyone who wants to use the gear pays $10 and everyone takes turns.
Ice Climbing Liability Waiver and Rules
Ice Climbing Rules - This form is intended cover safety rule and guidelines for the dry-tool ice route. Additional safety information guidelines apply to the real ice climb. These guidelines are covered in the Real Ice Climbing Training/Certification class.
FAQs About Ice Climbing
|From Ice Climb at Rocktown - January 2011|
What is ice climbing?
Ice climbing is a unique form of climbing in which you climb waterfall-syle or other frozen ice flows. These climbs require the use of additional tools; technical ice axes and crampons on your boots, in order to climb. Technical ice climbing is typically found in mountainous regions and on vertical walls where the temperatures are below freezing for prolonged periods of time.
How did you create the ice climb?
The basic ingredients for creating the ice climb are: structure, water/irrigation, temperature and time. First, is the structure: you have to have a solid structure and means to allow the ice to attach to the structure. We afixed chain-link fencing to the exterior structure of our concrete silos which provides a means to catch and slow the running water and provide a matrix which the ice can solidly form to. The second step involves creating an irrigation system to transport and direct the water towards the climb. This was done using some graden hose (a heated hose, in case of freeze up) and landscaping irrigation tube and sprayers. The hose runs from an exterior faucet to the top of the climb. Finally, you have to have very cold temperatures (in the 20s or below) and a period of a few days (typically, 4 nights and 3 days minimum). Each day the ice grows a bit and becomes solid.
How does ice climbing compare to rock climbing?
Ice climbing is quite different than rock climbing. The fact that ice is someting that only exists under certain conditions - freezing cold - and that it is temporary, makes it a unique medium to climb. Ice forms some very unique and beautiful features and each ice flow is different. Using ice tools; ice axes for your hands and crampons for your feet, makes climbing feel different. These tools become extensions, in some ways, of your hands and feet in rock climbing. It takessome practice to get used to swinging ice axes in the correct manner and kicking your crampons in the ice in thecorrect way. The fact that these tools are very sharp also makes the sport more risky. You have to be extremely careful how youmove. Strengthwise, the muscles to climb ice versus rock are similar. But ice requires a certain amount of grip strength and swing strength to use the ice axes and this feels different than rock climbing. Using crampons on your feet can feel quite different than rock shoes at first, but over time you learn to feel the ice at your feet much like you feel the rock through your rock shoes. Just like in rock climbing, efficiency is everything.
When did you begin creating the real ice climb?
The first time we created the ice climb was January 2010. The climb was created over the dry-tool route by attaching fixed old ropes to top anchors and stringing them down to bottom anchors for tension. This allowed the ropes to absorb water and create a solid ice formation. The first ice climb was very experimental but proved to work great.
In December 2010 we created a new structure next to the dry tool route that would become the next generation of ice route. That route became the ice route for January 2011. After the ice melted we made further improvements later in the month that expanded the surface area of the ice from the dry tool route all the way to the new ice route location.
As of the time of this writing (2/1/11) we've had a major winter storm system move through Oklahoma and are in the process of creating the third generation of ice climb - it should prove to be quite a climb - or even multiple ice climbs.
What should I wear for ice climbing?
Dress warmly. Dress to move. Wear gloves with dexterity. Try to avoid baggy pant legs, they make for easy targets when kicking your crampons in the ice. It's a good idea to wear some form of eye protection to protect your eyes from ice pieces. Everyone is required to wear a helmet for ice climbing.
We've received a lot of great recognition for the ice climb at Rocktown. Several places have done stories, here are links to those:
ContactRocktown Climbing Gym
200 SE 4th Street
OKC, OK 73129
PO Box 643
OKC, OK 73101