Up North: Warm Weather Dampened Climber's Clothes but Not their Sense of Adventure

Alicia Tipcke
Updated: February 05, 2020 11:21 PM

Experienced climbers have belayed down Casket Quarry for years. New trails popped up in 2015 increasing accessibility to the area and the sport of ice and mix climbing. Now adventure seekers of all skill levels flock to the unique 100 foot cliff


"There's young 11-13 year olds trying it for the first time. We also have a few folks that can recall climbing here in the 1970's," said Lucas Kramer, the president of the Duluth Climbers Coalition.

"The quarry is awesome because it has both ice and dry tooling routes. A lot of places it's kind of either one or the other, so it's nice to be able to do both," said ice and mix climber Vincente Delgado.

Duluth's newest park now hosts the Duluth Climbing Coalition's Ice and Mix Fest. Over 200 climbers tested their skills during the 5th annual event last weekend.

"The atmosphere today has been really fun. Everyone has been encouraging and awesome," shared Delgado

Kramer added that, "this really is the one location within the city limits of Duluth for ice climbing."

Ice climbing can get a little slippery, however proper equipment can help assure the adventure will be a safe one. Crampons and ice axes are common tools used by climbers. Crampons clip to the bottom of boots to provide a spiked ledge to stand on. 

As for the axes, climber Katie Berg said, "either slot it into a crack or you can put it on a very tiny little ledge for dry tool or you can flick it into the ice and it works really well."

Thick layers of ice hold strong, even on mild days. Above freezing temperatures on Saturday dampened climbers clothes, but not their spirits.

"It got a little drippy which makes it interesting when you're climbing, because all of a sudden you're being dripped on getting completely soaked. Your helmet is soaked and if you're not wearing sunglasses you can't really see, but it's still a ton of fun and your ice picks sink really nicely into the ice," shared Berg.

For those looking to give ice climbing a shot, Delgado shared some advice, "if you're interested I'd highly recommend coming to an ice climbing festival." 

The Duluth Climber's Coalition hosts climbing events year round. For more information on upcoming events, click here.


Alicia Tipcke

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