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Climbing Ice

by Yvon Chouinard

London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1978, pp 192;
San Franciso: Sierra Club Books in association with the American Alpine Club, pp 192

“To climb intelligently today one must come to terms with the mosaic of systems which makes up modern ice climbing. With this book, Yvon Chouinard tells us how. Clearly a leading forerunner of contemporary rock and ice climbing and consistently prophetic in his approach to both, he now gives us a book that captures all of the grace of climbing ice while demonstrating the force and breadth of its current revolution. (…)
Chouinard has pointed out, contrary to the current trend of specialization, that the climber should be complete in his techniques and experience. This book is a reflection of that completeness. I believe that Climbing Ice is one book that stands out as a major contribution to contemporary climbing. It is clearly an invaluable guide that many have been waiting for and something from which we all can learn.”
Tobin Sorenson, „American Alpine Journal” 1978,            p. 662-663

“This well-produced book is an extremely clear guide to ice-climbing. After a brief historical introduction, it covers all the major techniques and contrasts the French method, where the object is to keep as many crampon points in contact with the snow as possible, with the German front pointing method. The author believes that climbers should not become committed to one particular method but be able to adapt their mode of progress to the terrain and conditions prevailing. Such an approach has the virtue of flexibility and the important practical advantage of preventing the faster onset of fatigue which can result from an over-reliance on one method.”
Tom Connor, „Alpine Journal” 1979, p. 259

“The initial impression given by this book is of excellence. My lasting impressions are of superb design and illustration, but a disappointing text. Perhaps the major disappointment is to find that it is an instructional book. By far the best pieces of writing are the anecdotes relevant to each chapter. But their impact as linking passages is to some extent lost by the layout, which places them as a postscript to each chapter rather than as an introduction to the next, as which they are intended. The historical section suffers from imbalance and inaccuracy. (…)
The meat of the book is a series of chapters on technique, in which virtually every combination of feet and hand positions is examined and labelled. Handy for an instructor perhaps, but who's going to take the book on to a glacier or into a gully? (…)
I think it is a book which would tend to sit proudly on the shelf of those who have survived a season or two. It lacks the practical reference material of, say, Doug Scott's Big Wall Climbing. But for beginning ice climbers it will be useful as a synthesis of the techniques which have emerged in the past 10 years, those which have been around for a good deal longer, and principles of sound mountaineering sense.”
Mike Geddes, “Mountain” 1978, November-December,   No. 65, p. 54-55

“This is an unusual book; basically an instruction manual with ice climbing methods and equipment dealt with in a discursive historical context. Interspersed amongst the technical chapters are short personal anecdotes. The book is lavishly illustrated and beautifully packaged - rather like a Time Life publication. As an ice climbing tutor it is excellent. Chouinard does not mind telling us how it should be done and generally the advice is sound and full of good sense.”
Martin Boysen, "Crags", No. 15, p. 42


See also
Mountaineering in Patagonia
Fitz Roy
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