The Ultimate Ice Climbing Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

The sport of Ice climbing evolved out of rock climbing and other mountaineering activities. It is mostly done at chilly, high altitudes. Take this quiz to learn more about the slipperiest climbing sport.

Which among these is a common danger in ice climbing?

The most common dangers in ice climbing are falling into an icy crevasse, with frostbite and avalanches close behind.

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In which year is ice climbing supposed to have begun?

You can trace the birth of ice climbing back to 1908, when a climber named Oscar Eckenstein designed toothed claws, called crampons, that clamped onto the bottom of his boot.

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What method did ice climbers use to cut footholds into the snow before crampons were invented?

Before crampons were invented, ice climbers had to use step cutting, a laborious method of cutting footholds into the snow and ice with a pick or axe, to gain footing.

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Who revolutionized the design of ice axes in the 1960s?

In the 1960s, Yvon Chouinard, who later created the Patagonia clothing line, revolutionized the design of ice axes. First, he shortened the traditional 25-inch (63.5 cm) mountaineering axe down to 22 inches (55.8 cm). Next, he changed the shape of the traditional pick. His curved pick entered the ice more easily and was also easier to remove.

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What are the most important pieces of equipment an ice climber needs?

Ice tools are the most important and most expensive pieces of equipment an ice climber needs. When climbers talk about their ice tools, they're referring to what people often call axes. An ice tool does in fact act like an axe.

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What type of ice tool includes a leash that you wrap around your hand to help you keep hold of the tool?

A traditional ice tool has a leash that you wrap around your hand to help you keep hold of it. It's quite easy to drop a tool and a leashed tool also comes in handy if you lose your footing and need to hang from the ice until you regain it.

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What type of ice tool is easier to switch when you're not tied to your gear?

The leashless ice tool is less awkward than the traditional ice tool, and it's easier to switch tools when you're not tied to your gear. Leashless tools are becoming more popular among experienced climbers because of their flexibility.

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What type of crampons is suitable for all types of terrain?

Mono-points tend to be more flexible for mixed climbing, when your terrain varies from ice to rock over the course of the climb. Mono-points provide better ice penetration, and dual-points offer more stability but less ice penetration. Some crampons also feature heel spurs.

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What process do ice climbers use to protect themselves from falling?

Ice climbers protect themselves from falling by utilizing ice screws and ropes. Climbers call this process protection. As you progress through a climb, you place ice screws in strategic areas and clip in a rope, which will save your life if you fall. Well-placed screws can support hundreds of pounds of force.

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Which is not an important item of safety equipment in ice climbing?

You will need a helmet, appropriate cold weather clothing, and gloves.

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What kind of ice forms in the mountains?

In the mountains, ice forms in two ways: Alpine ice starts as snow and over time consolidates into hard-packed ice, sometimes called blue ice; water ice forms anywhere you find runoff or seepage.

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What is the ideal temperature to form ice for climbing?

Ideal temperatures for climbing ice is between 14 and 30 degrees F (minus 10 and minus 1 degree C). Colder temperatures cause more ice to form more quickly, but it will take a while for the ice bonds to become strong.

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What do you call the phenomenon of ice breaking off in plates when you swing your tool into it?

When temperatures are well below freezing, you may encounter brittle ice, which tends to break off in plates when you swing your tool into it. Climbers call this unwelcome phenomenon dinner plating.

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In which country is the biggest indoor ice-climbing wall in the world?

The UK is home to the world's biggest wall, called The Ice Factor. The wall is 49 feet (15 meters) high with varied ice terrain, to imitate the cold outdoors.

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What is the color of solid ice?

Solid ice tends to look blue or blue-green and it may be stained yellow from minerals. White ice is usually full of air -- it's easy to climb but it may not support your ice screws. Chandelier ice is actually hundreds of fused icicles, and it's difficult to climb safely because it's not solid enough for ice screws.

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Which technique of ice climbing works best on low-angled slopes?

The French technique, called flat flooting, works best on low-angled slopes. You open your feet up and walk like a duck, which keeps all crampon points flat on the ice.

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Which technique of ice climbing works best on very steep or vertical terrain?

The German technique, known as front pointing, works best on very steep or vertical terrain. You kick your front crampon right into the ice and then step up.

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What is the best way to swing an ice tool?

The only way to improve a swing is practice. Keep the elbow high and align it with both the hand and the tool. The straighter the swing, the more precise.

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What is the technical name for anchors cut out of ice?

Climbers can also carve their own anchors out of ice -- called bollards -- and place the rope around them. Another option is to create a V-shaped tunnel with ice screws, which is called an Abalakov after its inventor.

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How many categories is the ice rating system divided into?

The ice rating system in North America has three categories: WI for water ice, AI for alpine ice, and M for mixed.

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