WHEN THE LEAVES FALL AND THE COLD AIR OF WINTER BLOWS IN,you might feel that familiar itch to strap a bunch of sharp pointy things on your body and do battle with frozen water. Maybe you climbed dry rock in the good temps, or maybe you got high in the mountains, but now it’s time for ice climbing season. Whatever physical activity you do in the summer and fall will be a good base, but ice-specific training is essential for anyone who spends more than a few days swinging and kicking in the winter. And the earlier you get started with pre-season training, the more fit you’ll be when that life-list route actually comes in.
When it comes to ice climbing—or training for ice climbing—there are few that can match Mountain Hardwear athlete Tim Emmett. Year after year, Emmett establishes some of the most difficult dry-tooling and ice climbing routes in the world, including the recent first ascent of Mission to Mars, a 40-meter WI13 at Helmcken Falls in Canada. To ascend this route, currently the world’s hardest ice route, Emmett’s training had to also be the world’s hardest ice climbing training. But don’t worry, the exercises are adaptable to any skill or strength level, and as you get stronger, there are plenty of options to up the intensity. Here Emmett shares his pre-season training routine, as well as his go-to tips to push yourself on the ice.Watch Emmett climb Mission to Mars: The World’s Hardest Ice Climb
This is always useful for conditioning the legs so you can get the most out of your climbing day, but you can’t necessarily just jog a few times a week and expect great results. Instead, mix it up with long, slow runs and speed work or hill sprints.
Here’s a week of Emmett’s running training
Emmett has a couple ways to train the very specific grip strength needed to hang onto his tools on a near-horizontal cave for more than 40 meters. Circuits and Max hangs are his preferred exercises.
Circuits while hanging from tools. He tries to replicate the steepness and time he’ll be spending on that angle on the hardest pitch of his objective.https://www.instagram.com/p/B7ynXPgB7d1/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link›
Max hangs. This is simple: hang from two ice tools with as much weight as you can add on, aiming to hang for 4 to 15 seconds. Rest about a minute, then repeat this 3 to 5 times, with a 2 to 3 minute rest between sets, depending on how conditioned you are.https://www.instagram.com/p/B7sYZreh1Fy/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link››