Waterfall ice is a unique and majestic medium. It’s in a state of constant flux. The ice is alive, proving this with eerie creeks, pops, and tremors. Depending on your luck, you may even feel the ice move and shift.
Temperature changes, wind shifts, and precipitation are all factors that impact the stability and quality of ice. Due to the constant influences of change, ice becomes less dependable and predictable. Rarely does waterfall ice freeze and form the same way twice.
This is the beauty of ice climbing.
In February, I made my dream to travel to Iceland to explore and look for unclimbed ice a reality. We landed in Reykjavik and drove ten hours across the island to the western fjords where we met a climber named Runar Karlsson. He pulled a map down from a dusty bookshelf and circled and circled potential locations of unclimbed ice. I felt like I had finally found my fairytale mecca of ice.
The landscape was spectacular. The mountains rose right out of the fjords, and the ice hung high on the cliff bands that overlooked the water. I had never before climbed on ice with seagulls circling overhead. The strong northern winds shaped the ice into surreal shapes. Huge umbrella features formed, creating massive roofs with twisted tentacle like icicles. The winds also created horizontal ice features, overhanging curtains, and bending pillars.
My passion for ice climbing has not waned over my seventeen-year ice career. I found Iceland to be so incredibly magical and awe inspiring that it fueled my spirit to push further.
Iceland was everything I had dreamed of and more.