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Ice climbing, the art of climbing on ice

Ice climbing, l’arte di arrampicare sul ghiaccio

Ice climbing (literally ice climbing) is the art of climbing waterfalls which freeze in the winter season, becoming ephemeral climbing walls.
An outdoor sport that has seen incredible evolution in recent years and a strong increase in practitioners. Many climbing enthusiasts move, during the winter months, to the frozen structures wearing crampon shoes and holding special ice axes.
Not a sport for the few but undoubtedly an activity that requires good physical preparation, an expert guide to begin with and having the necessary knowledge as well as equipment designed specifically for ice climbing and winter mountaineering.

AKU has developed technical footwear suitable for harsh winter climates that guarantee protection from atmospheric agents and high thermal insulation during prolonged use in cold environments. However, this is not enough, two other elements make the difference in ice climbing: lightness and comfort. Aurai DFS GTX with its 700 g is certainly the shoe of excellence for ice climbing and winter mountaineering enthusiasts. As regards comfort, Aurai adopts the exclusive AKU Dual Fit System (DFS) technology which allows a rapid double adjustment of the fit: snug and ultra sensitive in climbing sections, comfortable and soft to facilitate blood circulation in moments of rest or approach.

Alessandro Beltrame , filmmaker and mountaineer who has collaborated with AKU for several years, has chosen Aurai DFS GTX for his winter climbs. We see him engaged in the Salto dei Pachidermi waterfall in Val Varaita (Piedmont) and in the Nicchia waterfall in the municipality of Gressoney la Trinitè (Valle d'Aosta).

Santi Padros, mountain guide and AKU ambassador, prefers the Hayatsuki GTX for its versatility in different alpine environments, perfect on difficult terrain and on mixed ice and rock mountaineering routes. Last year in Canada he climbed legendary routes such as Nemesis in the Weeping Wall temple, 140m with difficulty WI6 where the ice can be thin, always overhanging and it is difficult to equip belays and protection.
This year Santi instead explored his home mountains in the Armentarola area near San Cassiano (BZ), in Val Travenanzes (BL) and Val Pramper (BL) in search of new climbs.
Large structures still need flow, but I think it will be tough for them to get bigger like other years. However, other waterfalls in the sun are forming and are climbable, who knows until when... "

The higher than normal temperatures make us reflect on our footprint and highlight the transitory aspect of icefalls even more. Just as the monk models stupendous mandalas which he will erase once finished, the ice climber also designs trajectories on stupendous frozen cathedrals which will be lost in the warm rays of the spring sun.