Ice is Nice: Ice Climbing at Holderness

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

When I came to Holderness two years ago as a freshman, I was devoted to alpine ski racing. When getting to know the rest of my class, I would often introduce myself as an “Eastern Alpine Skier.” Everyone knew what that meant. My skiing was something many of my classmates could relate to and completely understand.


Now, after two years of Eastern Alpine, I decided to mix it up and try something different. The first time I told one of my classmates what my new sport was their response was something along the lines of “You’re doing what now?!”


“Ice Climbing.” I said again, unsure of what the confusion was. It wasn’t until I was laying in my bed that night, that I realized what the basis of the question had been. My classmates, the same people who had understood my skiing so well, didn’t know what ice climbing was, let alone that it was a sport at Holderness.


Simply speaking, ice climbing is the same as rock climbing except instead of climbing with hands and specialized shoes, climbers use ice axes and crampons that attach to mountaineering boots. Both the axes and the crampons allow us to grip the nearly vertical walls of ice. Climbing would be impossible without them. It took nearly a week for me to master fitting the crampon to my boots. Trust me, those things are way harder to put on than ski boots!


This year, Eleni Spiliotes and I go climbing four days a week and help Mr.Thatcher prepare for Outback on Wednesdays. In comparison to Eastern Alpine racing, ice climbing is pretty laid back. I have to say, I absolutely love it. I have been able to learn so much about the mountains, the ice, and even myself through the sport.