5 Gifts for Ice Climbers

Uncategorized / ZZBLOG POSTS

There are two kinds of people in this world–ice climbers and people who think ice climbers are completely insane. If you fall into the latter category, you probably have no idea what to get the ice climber on your holiday shopping list. You might even feel awkward about enabling this friend or family member of yours who is not only excited for winter but gets happier with every degree the thermometer drops below freezing. You may also think the ice climber on your list has everything he or she would ever need since their ice gear has been spread out across their dining room table since September in “preparation” for the season, but believe me, there are some key items every ice climber needs, and most don’t have.

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The Black Diamond Toolbox and Crampon Bag

Ice climbers rely on a bunch of sharp, pointy things to ascend frozen water falls, gullies, and slides. As important as things like ice axes and crampons are in the backcountry, they can do some major damage to an ice climber’s backpack and its contents. The Black Diamond Tool Box and Crampon Bag not only protects your ice climber’s crampons and ice tools from getting dinged if they’re accidentally dropped, it protects your ice climber and his/her gear from getting stabbed, torn or slashed by unsecured gear. After tucking their tools inside a Black Diamond Tool Box and Crampon Bag, your ice climber can safely stow their crampons and tools inside their pack or attach them securely to the exterior of their backpack. Even if your climber already has one of these, they’ll be stoked to get a new one as the life of a crampon bag is a hard one.

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Petzl Lim’Ice Screw Sharpener

Ice screws are essential pieces of ice climbing gear. They’re also expensive and easily dulled which is why the Petzl Lim’Ice Screw Sharpener is the perfect gift for the ice climber on your list. Not too long ago you either needed to send your ice screws out or obtain an engineering degree to get your ice screws sharpened. Thanks to the Petzl Lim’Ice Screw Sharpener, ice climbers can extend the life of their ice screws by sharpening them from the comfort of home, and you will benefit from the knowledge that they are little safer while on the sharp end.

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Black Diamond Mercury Mittens

Speaking from personal experience, one of the great challenges of ice climbing is just figuring out how to stay warm. Especially when a fair amount of ice climbing happens in thin gloves in order to maintain the dexterity you need to handle your rope, gear, and tools. During rest breaks, there’s nothing better than sliding your frozen hands into a super-warm pair of mittens and Black Diamond’s venerable Mercury Mitts have been keeping ice climbers from freezing their digits for years. They’re super warm, waterproof, and made to stand up to the rigors of ice climbing. As tough as Mercury Mitts are, they eventually succumb to the harsh reality that ice climbers thrash mittens. The constant in-and-out of pack and pockets combined with the peril of pointy ice-axes, ice screws, and crampons creates a steady demand for mittens. Trust me, the ice climber on your list will be singing your praises when they pull these out of their pack and onto their hands.

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Little Hotties Hand Warmers

Have you ever heard of the “screaming barfies?” No? Lucky you. The combination of extreme cold, thin gloves, and muscle strain caused by hanging from ice tools will occasionally make an ice climber’s hands go numb. As the feeling returns, the effect can be so painful you can’t decide if you want to scream, or puke – hence the name screaming barfies. Remember, the ice climber on your list does this for fun so it’s not the end of the world. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t help make their next case of the screaming barfies a little less painful and that’s where Little Hotties Hand Warmers come in. Little Hottie Hand Warmers are lightweight, compact, and super portable sources of on-demand warmth. The ice climber on your list can stash them in their gloves, pockets, or mittens so they can spend more time climbing and less time fighting the screaming barfies.

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Group or Private Ice Climbing Lesson

Everyone from the novice to the hardman can benefit from an ice climbing lesson with the EMS Climbing School. Whether it’s to learn basic ice climbing skills under the watchful eye of a certified instructor, or to master some advanced techniques from an experienced pro, the guides at the EMS Climbing School can make it happen. The EMS Climbing School also offer AIARE avalanche classes that are extremely popular with ice climbers who spend time climbing in the gullies, and are a great way to learn how to minimize risk while travelling in avalanche terrain.

If you don’t see something on this list that catches your eye, just pop into one of stores and take a look around. We’re packed with stuff any ice climber would be psyched to find under the tree. If you’re mystified by all the options, just ask one of our store guides. Most stores have at least one ice climber lurking among the staff. Just look for the person with pink cheeks hanging off of something.
Jim Darroch