Frozen butts in Canada

The government agency said, "Arctic cold brings dangerous temperatures to Canada. Wind chill creates an elevated risk of frostbite and hypothermia.“

 

We said, ‘Perfect. Let's go ice climbing.‘

 

The joy of cold 

We watched the temperature drop to -30°, while sitting in the car wrapped in warm sleeping bags and down jackets, trying to motivate to get our ass out. It is no problem staying warm once you are climbing. But at the bottom of the icefall, touching your metal axe without gloves feels like fire. And fixing crampons is only possible with three rounds of finger warm-ups in expedition-down-gloves. As long as you keep moving its OK, but 15 minutes of hanging at the next belay does not make you smile.

 

You notice how quickly the cold sneaks into your body. You start dancing, shaking and doing strange movements. Then the mental game starts. "Why I am doing this sport? Why not playing chess or golf? Why not just stay in my bed the whole day? I do not want to be here!"

 

Weird people these climbers.

 

But hours later, when we are sitting at home and having a nice dinner, my Blue Ice pack is prepared and we are planning our next climb.

Adventure time

We were not satisfied with a "normal", ass-freezing climbing day.  So we went to the Ghost area, beside the Seacliffs in Iceland. "The Ghost" is one of the most remote areas I have ever been. No mobile network, no civilization, no streets. Lots of river crossings, wind drifts and a rented car.

 

We were looking for the real "ghost experience" and got it. Driving to Devil's Gap, the climbing worked out as planned. The sun came out and it was was really enjoyable for a while. The only thing we did not anticipate was the wind, which built large snowdrifts during the day for our return hike. Digging out the whole car and building tracks by hand for 10 to 15 times was for much more  strenuous than the ice climbing.

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Philip Pichlbauer

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