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The Art of Mixed Climbing

red helicopter on rocks near people ice climbing

Elemental Climbing

The interest in rock climbing and ice climbing has been on the rise since it started gaining popularity in the 70’s and 80’s. Now, decades later, many travel to glacier ice to experience climbing on pristine ice walls. And anyone who has climbed, whether it be their first time or they are an expert climber, means getting acquainted with the elements you are working with.

Climbing Ice and Rock

If climbing on glacier ice is your first experience with ice climbing, congratulations, as this can be a rare and unique experience. And even on glacier ice, you will at times have to traverse rocks and sections of moraine on more advanced adventures. When there is a mix of rock and ice climbing this is sometimes referred to as mixed climbing.

Mixed climbing does require some different techniques, skills, and sometimes equipment than your average ice or rock climb. Some tools are made to be versatile and others are more specific to ice or rock. One technique to consider is dry tooling. Dry tooling is a form of climbing used by mixed and ice climbers in order to gain the strength and technique required to climb long and strenuous routes. (chalkbloc) Dry tooling is the use of ice axes and crampons on rock used specifically for this purpose.

Anywhere you find glaciated and volcanic areas, you are likely to have terrain that has some mixed climbing to it. Some climbers hold the opinion that this style helps to improve your overall climbing skills and hone in on more nuanced techniques. Climbing on ice and rock and adjusting to the different surfaces offers a new and more challenging experience to climbing.

Mixed Climbing Trip

Mixed climbs can mean lots of ice with a little bit of rock, more rock than ice, and anything in between. There are options, dependent on what you are looking for. Many spaces in Alaska have convergences of glacier ice and rock from nearby mountainsides. This offers a variety of terrain and skill levels to explore.

We highly recommend exploring out with a guide if this is something you want to try out. Having a guide will provide you with many different layers of support for your adventure. Guides offer years of experience and expertise in finding routes to fit the challenge level you are looking for and meet any goals you might have set. Having someone who has on ice knowledge and can take you to the best spots around, will offer you more climb time and reduce a lot of the energy that goes into logistics. And, you have someone to answer any questions you have.

If you want an extra challenge or something more customized towards mixed climbing please visit the Contact Us page and start planning the ice and mixed climbing trip of your dreams. You can even book a multi-day trip with luxury accommodations.