Updated: 12/25/2013 10:39 PM
Created: 12/24/2013 7:54 PM WDIO.com
By: Laura Kennedy
Rock climbing is a challenge for even the most seasoned athletes. But what happens when you cover those cliffs in ice, and turn out the lights?
At the Sandstone Ice Festival, climbers say sometimes the best time to tackle the frosty formations is at night in the bitter cold.
"Your hands are numb, your toes are numb, your face is numb but it's exciting," said Chad Heron. "There's not too many places that you can do this kind of stuff."
Heron has been ice climbing for about five years and says the frigid weather can have a bonding effect.
"It's fun to get outside with friends and meet people that are interested in the outdoors and kind of suffer together," Heron said.
Climbers had neon rope lights frozen behind the ice to guide their way, but Sam Guldan says climbers experience a sort of sensory deprivation.
"All you can see when you're on the wall is the wall," Guldan said. "Everything else is kind of black, so you can really focus in on what you're doing and just be kind of more in the moment."
James Roddewig thinks the dark can sometimes curb a climber's fear.
"It is a different experience. you're not aware so much of what's underneath you," Roddewig said. "Some people climb better that way because they don't know how high off the ground they are."
Day or night, rocks or ice, the end goal is the same.
"You're trying to get up to the top of something that's nearly vertical," Roddewig said. "There's almost something spiritual to it."
And if you're brave enough to try, you might just get hooked.
"Sometimes people look at you like you're crazy but it's one of those things that once you get out and try it, you realize it's not crazy at all," Guldan said. "It's fun."
Special Report: Pattie's Journey
A local woman shares her journey in the fight against breast cancer. She's sharing the struggle of letting go of what she can't control and reclaiming what cancer strips away.
Nolan Bill Requires 'Buy American Steel' in Pipeline Projects
A bill introduced by Congressman Rick Nolan would require American made steel, made with American made iron ore pellet, to be used in virtually all pipeline projects.
E-Cigarette Business Booming as FDA Proposes New Regulations
Regulating the sale and use of electronic cigarettes is the goal of new rules proposed by the Food and Drug Administration Thursday. If approved, e-cigarette sales would be banned to people under age 18, a warning label would be placed on the devices, and manufacturers would be required to tell the FDA what's in their products.
Advocates Push for More Affordable Housing in Minn.
Housing advocates are pushing Minnesota lawmakers to do more to help low-income renters. Sherman Associates' renovation of the old Lincoln Park Middle School will provide 50 new housing units for Duluth next year. But researchers with the progressive think tank Minnesota 2020 say more needs to be done.
Hermantown Cheerleaders: We Just Want to Cheer
The Hermantown cheer team is fighting back after they learned the school board had approved to cut their district funding last week. The cut is part of larger budget cuts, but the cheerleaders are picketing Friday and Monday in hopes of gaining support at the next school board meeting. Whether school-funded or self-funded, the girls just want to cheer.