Ice Climbing in the Lead
Posted In Ice Climbing - Just Beginning on Monday, November 11th 2019

Ice Climbing in the Lead

Northeast Outdoors Experience Staff

In ice climbing as in rock climbing, the lead climber leads while the belayer follows. Being able to safely lead is a skill that all climbers will eventually have to learn if they are to be successful and safe in climbing whether it is on ice or rock. Safety is the primary concern and must be maintained at all times by both the lead climber and the belayer alike.

Leading, as it pertains to ice climbing, is accomplished in sections of the total ascent. As each section of the course is completed the belay points are left in the ice until the climb is completed by the lead climber and then the belayer ascends removing the belay anchors the leader placed as he climbs to rejoin the leader. Leading a climb can be somewhat disconcerting for an inexperienced climber without any belay points above him as he climbs, but therein resides the excitement of the sport. There are always safety belays behind the lead climber to rely upon that he himself affixed that puts his safety in his own hands along the way.

Learning how to place extenders and clipping methods to the rope through them are essential information for any lead climber. While they can be learned by reading or watching videos, there is a lot to be said for learning from a professional whenever it comes to your safety. Every year there are climbing festivals and events that can be attended where you can climb with experts, attend seminars and classes and watch as others demonstrate exactly how to safely climb ice. Spend some time online and find out what events and opportunities are available and when in your area.

Remaining calm and collected in your thoughts is essential to the lead climber. Belay points should be attached every 4-5