I used to think that my excitement levels had reached a maximum when I learned that Big White had a place called the Adventure Park. While I don’t usually like being wrong, Adventure Park isn’t exactly a “usual” place. Soon after discovering the park, I found out that it was home to the biggest ice tower on the continent (the thing is a massive 60feet tall) and that it existed just so that normal ski bums could transform into the 8 bit Nintendo characters, Nana and Popo! (Okay, so you didn’t actually get pixelated before climbing the tower, but I was too excited to care.)
I signed up for a climb and strapped into a pair of boots with cleats that were so big, they made soccer shoes look like they should be used for bowling.
Stepping up to the wall, I was then handed a pair of ice picks and immediately went into full photo-shoot mode.
Once I had calmed down, my guide began explaining that ice climbing basically involved the same muscles and techniques as rock climbing, but since you had such badass cleats on your feet, you didn’t have to search for ledges and could basically dig your feet into any part of the wall you wanted.
Since I’d been rock climbing before, I was feeling pretty confident and decided to opt for the intermediate wall (which I later found out actually had a tougher rating than 90% of naturally occurring ice walls).
It took me a whole 30cm to realize that this was going to be more difficult than I had originally thought. Somehow, I had already gotten twisted around, scrunched up and put a ton of pressure on my wrists.
Luckily for me, as Nana the Ice Climber, I had more than one life and re-started my ascent with bigger strides. Soon enough, I had pounded my way up ¾ of the wall and while bordering on exhausting, was feeling pretty good about myself.
However, it was at this point that the wall seemed to run out of places to dig my axe into and my guide started poking fun and telling me I climbed like a girl. I cursed him a bit under my breath before yelling down at him: “I’ll show YOU how girls climb!” From there, I somehow managed to hack my way to the summit and triumphantly ring the bell at the top of the wall. Despite being pathetically muffled and frozen, to me, it rang out like a triumphant symphony.