Does Indoor Ice Climbing Involve Ice?




Does Indoor Ice Climbing Involve Ice?

Does Indoor Ice Climbing Involve Ice?

Sadly, indoor ice climbing does not involve real ice. But it Does allow you to climb on artificial structures designed to simulate the experience of ice climbing. Structures often consist of plywood or fiberglass panels with textured surfaces that mimic the look and feel of ice.

Indoor ice climbing facilities will usually feature:

Ice Walls: are vertical or inclined walls with textured surfaces that simulate the irregularities and features found on natural ice formations. Use specialized ice climbing tools, such as ice axes and crampons, to ascend these walls.

Ice Towers: freestanding ice towers (structures) allow you to practice ascending and descending on vertical or overhanging terrain.

Ice Panels: are smaller sections of wall or panels that can be set up indoors for ice climbing training and practice sessions. They’re adjustable in angle and difficulty to accommodate climbers of different skill levels.

Dry Tooling Routes: dry tooling is a cross between ice & rock climbing, using ice axes and crampons on outdoor rock walls or indoors on plywood walls or boxes with artificial holds. Indoor climbing gyms may offer dry tooling routes to simulate the experience of ice climbing.

Indoor ice climbing provides you and your fellow climbers with the opportunity to practice and refine your ice climbing techniques in a controlled environment. It also allows you to train year-round, regardless of weather conditions or access to outdoor ice climbing locations. These facilities often offer instruction, coaching, and rental equipment for climbers of all levels.

Where can I find indoor ice facilities in the US and Canada?

Less common than traditional indoor climbing gyms, but here are a few locations and alternatives: 

United States:

The North Wall Climbing Gym - Crystal Lake, Illinois: features an indoor ice climbing wall in addition to traditional rock climbing walls, offering both ice climbing classes and open climbing sessions.

Ouray Ice Park - Ouray, Colorado: while not indoors, the Ouray Ice Park is a popular destination for ice climbers in the winter months. It features a series of man-made ice climbs created by diverting water from the nearby Uncompahgre River.

Eldorado Climbing Walls - Boulder, Colorado: is a company that designs and builds custom climbing walls, including indoor ice climbing walls. Working primarily with commercial clients, they’ve built ice climbing walls for gyms and facilities across the US.

The Ice Coop - Boulder, Colorado: the Coop is a non-profit and the first facility specifically for ice climbing in No. America. It's a welcoming place, where folks of all abilities can practice ice and alpine climbing and help to promote the sport.


Grotto Climbing & Yoga - Kelowna, British Columbia: is a climbing gym in Kelowna that features an indoor ice climbing wall in addition to traditional climbing terrain. You’ll find ice climbing classes and clinics for climbers of all levels.

University of Calgary Outdoor Centre - Calgary, Alberta: offers ice climbing courses and programs, including indoor ice climbing sessions at their climbing wall facility.

Canmore Climbing Gym - Canmore, Alberta: a popular climbing gym in the Canadian Rockies that features both indoor rock climbing walls and an indoor ice climbing wall. Ice climbing classes and guided sessions are on offer.

Check with local climbing gyms and outdoor recreation centers in your area to see if they offer indoor ice climbing options or if they know of any nearby facilities. Availability and offerings may vary depending on the season and location.

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