Up North: UMD dry tooling clinic shows ice climbers the ropes

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The temperature here in the Northland has begun to drop. For some its a pain, but for others its an oppurtunity to reconnect with frozen adventures.

It may not be cold enough yet for ice to form, but that didn’t stop local ice climbers as they headed to the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Recreational Sports Outdoor Program annual indoor dry tooling and fake ice climbing competition this past weekend.

Kendara Stritch, who is a professional ice climber hada this to say about the activities, "this is its own syle of climbing, we are actually at the world cup level, we use crampons and you kick into plywood. So essentially that is why there are so many feet on the wall because we are simulating being able to kick into the wall at any location you want to."

With the ice axes already pre-modified for the indoors and ready for use, this was a great chance for participants to show off their dry tooling and ice climbing techniques. While also teaching new comers the "ropes" of how its done.

"At places like Quarry park here in Duluth there are locations there where you climb the rock and the ice, somtimes your on rock sometimes your on ice, thats called mixed climbing. So a lot of the same techniques can be used in the mixed climbing," added Stritch.

Climbing instructor, Taylor Krosbakken also stated that, "it’s a great oppurtunity for people to try something new. I dont do this indoors a ton because there really isn’t this oppurtunity to do this dry tooling (which means using ice axes on indoor holds). I have done it outside quite a bit, I’ve been doing it for years, but there isn’t the oppurtunity to do it inside like this so its fun and really awesome."

If you’re a thrill seaker with minimum experience, it’s always recommended to take advantage of doing it safely indoors at first.

"You can very safely try this as a beginner with just a little bit of experience on how to set up anchors and be able to belay. You really don’t have to take high risk in the sport," Stritch concluded.