With the holidays coming up, it’s time to start thinking about gifts for our friends and family.
If you happen to know someone into the crazy, maniac, madman sport that they call “ice climbing”, here are a few gifts that they might appreciate.
Ice climbing is COLD. So give your loved ones the gift of comfort this holiday season, by gifting them a bulk package of chemical handwarmers. These little puppies are essential for keeping your hands warm on a cold winter day spent hanging out near big ice formations.
Or buy 5 pair (10 handwarmers) for $7, and they make great stocking stuffers!
You can also get toe warmers. These are a bit more expensive: 16 pairs for $25 on Amazon.
Ice climbers use ice tools to climb. Back in the day, these tools used to come with built-in “leashes”, which climbers would clip around their wrists to ensure they never dropped a tool. These days, leashless ice tools dominate. But that doesn’t mean the fear of dropping a tool is gone.
The Black Diamond Spinner Leash ($59) is a new innovation which attaches your ice tools to your climbing harness, using long stretchy elastic. This leashing system doesn’t interfere with your swing or cut off circulation in your hands, but does ensure you’ll stay safe if you happen to make a mistake halfway up a frozen waterfall.
No matter how much gear an ice climber has, they’ll *always* appreciate new ice screws.
Ice Climbers use ice screws for various purposes, including “protecting the lead” and building top-rope anchors. Ice screws are expensive, and unfortunately, dull out over time.
Types of ice screws
Screws come in different sizes, as well as in normal and ultralight varieties. The most commonly-used size is 13 centimetres, but all sizes have their applications. Ultralight is better than normal, generally — but accordingly, ultralights are more expensive.
- Petzl Laser Speed ($59 each)
- Petzl Laser Speed UltraLight ($79 each)
- Black Diamond Express Ice Screw ($59 each)
- Black Diamond Express UltraLight ($85)
Ice Screw Holder
Ice screws are sharp and pointy. Some climbers will just wrap them in newspaper or kevlar mailers or whatever’s at hand, but an ice-screw holder is a nice luxury. No one will complain about having one — although they might not buy it for themselves.
Those sorts of items always make perfect gifts.
You can buy an ice screw holder on Amazon for $20.
In the same vein as an ice-screw holder, a crampon case is a luxury item which many climbers will skip. This is a simple, tear and puncture-resistant bag to store your crampons in. A crampon case allows you to throw your crampons into your pack without damaging other items.
- Black Diamond Crampon Case ($20)
- Petzl Crampon Case ($20)
- Grivel Crampon Case ($27)
- CAMP Crampon Case ($11)
Ice climbing involves a lot of pointy things: ice tools, crampons, ice screws… it’s inevitable that your clothes will get little snags and hole sput in them. In-EVITABLE. You can’t be buying new clothes every time that happens, so: you need patch material. That’s where Tenacious Tape comes in. It’s super-sticky patch tape, easy to apply in the field and tends to stay stuck.
It’s better and longer-lasting than duct tape, and which is what many cheap climbers tend to use.
Buy it on Amazon:
Slings are a key item in any climber’s repertoire, and ice climbers are no different. Slings are useful for building top-rope anchors, attaching to ice screws, and using in V-thread anchors. Serious ice and alpine climbers may often have to leave slings behind in v-threads while they are rappelling.
Additionally, slings have a shelf life of 5-7 years, and many climbers are reluctant to replace them when they approach this age. Gifting new slings ensures your climber will be safe for many years to come. One can never have too many slings.
Our personal favourite slings are made by Mammut, although many manufacturers make very similar ones:
Where’s the technical gear?!
Ice climbing does require lots of expensive equipment, like Gore-tex jackets, warm puffy jackets, ice tools, climbing harnesses, mountaineering boots, dry-treated climbing ropes, vertical front-point crampons, and much more.
These items aren’t included in this list because they are difficult to recommend on a universal basis. Each individual’s needs and preferences will be different where these items are concerned, so, in our opinion, it’s best NOT to try and gift anything too technical. If you really want to give something nice — or your ice climber has ASKED you for ice tools or a jacket or something similar, we recommend you either ask for a specific model to buy, or give a beefy gift card to your nearest outdoor retailer.
We hope this ice climbing gift guide was helpful, and you now have some (non-technical) Christmas gift ideas for the ice climbers that you may know.
A lot of the items on this list are pretty cheap too, so you could consider this a list of affordable gifts for ice climbers.
Hope it’s useful to you and yours in your quest to spread holiday cheer this Christmas season!
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