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krysia ice climbs!

Photo courtesy of Peabody Ice Climbing Club

As I turned the corner on the snowy country road, to my left, I saw it.  A huge, glittering, icy tower glowing like the moon on a pitch-dark night.  I smiled.  This is going to be awesome.

I had just arrived at Peabody’s Ice Climbing Club to check it out and try my hand at ice climbing.  I am going to go to Michigan Ice Fest next month and will have the chance to climb with Majka Burhardt (yay!) and I don’t want to look like a total tool (no pun intended).

When I entered the clubhouse I felt like I had entered an old-fashioned boy’s club.  Not in a bad way, the place just screamed “decorated by dudes”.  It was a mixture of knotty pine and field stone with retro metal farm signs hung alongside MSU and gear banners. There was a mounted TV that was turned off, a wood burning stove, and of course, the token taxidermy piece.  In this case a giant eagle that looked like it was about to take flight because a blower was ruffling its feathers.  I immediately felt at home.

I had met Garrett and his brother Brandon a few nights before, and as soon as I arrived Brandon hooked me up with gear and Garrett was ready for me to hit the ice.  I was a little nervous.  I felt awkward starting, but once I got a good footing I felt ready to swing those axes and trusting enough to make a some decent vertical moves.

After getting my bearings I tried to think like I do on rock and when I had a really solid grab with the axes I tried to take pretty high steps to gain some ground.  I don’t know if this is proper technique of not, but it felt good to me.  It was really fun.  The only part that scared me when I fell (on top-rope) I was afraid of my arms and really conscious of the fact that I had some really sharp tools in them.  I didn’t quite know how to position or relax in a fall.

I made the trip out to Peabody’s alone because none of my climbing friends were free on my only available evening.  And some were just wusses (sorry, you were!). I didn’t mind, I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin and Garrett assured me that if I couldn’t jump in with another climber he would belay me.  Besides, as I have mentioned in the past how amazing the climbing community is, I didn’t think it would be such an issue.  I was right.  I ended up seeing a climber friend of mine that had been out of town for the last few weeks and meeting a ton of new people.  A few climb at my local gym but I hadn’t met them before.

I really can’t wait for Ice Fest now.  Apparently, the grades at Peabody’s (WI3-WI5+) are more difficult than many naturally occurring ice climbs. This makes me feel pretty good.  I will definitely go back to Peabody’s, at least one more time before I go to Munising.  If only work didn’t interfere with my climbing.

To read my alter-avatar, “Lois Lane” take on Peabody’s, click here.

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