Up North: Duluth Climbers Coalition shares love for climbing with beginners
Winter temperatures this year haven’t been too kind for those that enjoy the outdoors, but the Duluth Climbers Coalition was able to make the most what they had at the Ice and Mix Fest last weekend.
Ice climbing and rock climbing are two sports that can be greatly affected by the outdoor conditions.
However, for the Duluth Climbers Coalition, despite the outside temps not being ideal, they’re able to shine the light on ice climbing all year.
However, how did they have enough ice to climb?
“A lot of the ice that you’re seeing today is part of our ice farming system,” said Taylor Krosbakken, a bord member on the DCC. “In good winters, a lot of this ice will form on its own. but in worse winters like we’re having this winter, we’re relying on our ice farming system.”
The DCC is all about spending time with the community, so while the Ice and Mix Fest did just that, the basis of their goals is just to get out and enjoy climbing.
“Our biggest philosophy here is to teach people all about climate,” said Al Wiberg, the owner of the DCC. “You know, automation works nice in the indoor gyms where maybe they don’t have enough staff and they want to give people that experience here, but all these clinics are educational. We want to give people that experience, so if they want to continue to come out and keep climbing, then they know, ‘Hey, this is what I got to do. I got to learn how to climb and I got to learn how to tie all these knots.'”
The Ice and Mix Fest held nine different clinics, with beginners, men and women, mixed, and even some climbing workshops.
The hope was that the event opens the eyes of beginners to the climbing world, as it can be done both indoors and outdoors, however, when the outdoors is an option, it’s always a pleasure.
“Indoor climbing has been exploding over the years, as everyone is aware,” added Wiberg. “Of course in the Midwest, you know, with the winter months, generally we get to practice and climb indoors. But any opportunity we get to spend outdoors, you know, that’s just where we love to be.”
“Outdoor climbing is definitely a little more dangerous than indoor climbing,” said Krosbakken, “but as long as you’re taking the right precautions, it can be just as safe, with the right safety precautions, as you know, helmets and and and whatnot.”
After expenses are paid for each event, the money goes back into the ice parks afterwards, ensuring that the future of climbers is in good hands in the Northland.