We both tried rock climbing before and wondered how difficult ice climbing would be! So we decided to take on the challenge and to give ice climbing a try! My gosh….it was really quite a tough feat! But definitely worth the try! We chose the full day adventure package (8-9hours) which apparently required a high fitness level! Being the crazy people that we are, we went ahead without giving it much thought!
We were given waterproof boots to wear and we had to attach the crampons (spiky thingy) to the base of the boots. Half the time you’ll be trekking on slippery ice and these crampons will come in really handy.
And the hike begins…
Oh yeah, do remember to pack along some snacks/lunch as this will be a whole day activity and lunch will not be provided! Bananas/orange/chocolate bars are some recommended food that you can bring along.
At the beginning, we’ll practise at a lower ice cliff, maybe around 3m only? Just to get the hang of ice climbing and to learn how to belay your partner. There will be this sharp spike (around 5cm) at the toe of your shoe. You’ll basically have to kick your leg against the ice such that the front spike pierces into the ice cliff perpendicularly. Not easy to get the angle right. Once the angle is not right, your feet will slip out easily and you’ll lose your footing. I think I kicked so hard so many times that by the end of the session, my legs were filled with bruises of all sizes! I remembered our guide kept telling us to trust our equipment. Quite hard to trust this small 5cm spike that is supposed to take your entire body weight!
For us we chose the ice climbing package from Fox Glacier. However the exact package that we did is no longer available. You can consider the Heli Ice Climbing Adventure which is very similar to what we did, except that we didn’t have the heli ride.
Alternatively, you can check out Franz Josef Glacier too! They have several packages too and it’s quite similar to Fox Glacier. Both places offer access to their hot tubs too! Sadly we didn’t have this privilege when we were there! 🙁
Do check out our other top adventures in New Zealand such as sky diving, sea kayaking, cycling expeditions and more!
If you’ve done ice climbing in NZ recently, share with us your experience in the comments below! We did ours almost 2 years ago and we’re sure a lot has changed by now!