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Extreme London: all the cool kids are ice climbing

Posted at 3:15 pm, December 9, 2012 in Fun London
Ice Climbing

Was summer too hot for you? (Yeh right!) Well we have the perfect way to cool down and get a thrill at the same time. Jade Bremner has been trying some of London’s more extreme activities and today she’s been ice climbing:

Intrepid Londoners who walk through ‘secret’ doors tend to be rewarded with something nice like a cocktail. Intrepid Londoners who walk through the ‘secret’ door in the Ellis Brigham store in Covent Garden are rewarded with a ski jacket, a helmet, needle-sharp crampons (shoe spikes) and an eight-metre-tall block of ice.

‘Use your wrist to swing the ice pick and stab the ice,’ advises Alex, my ice climbing instructor, ‘and don’t be put off by the large blocks falling towards your face when you hit the surface.’ Oh, alright, then.

Alex instructs me to shift my body against the wall, put my weight on my heels and carve my own holds as I ascend. Sounds easy? It’s not. I flail around like a crap kung fu movie extra, suspended in mid-air on a rope. My first dozen attempts are futile, but on my thirteenth try I swing harder and the ice pick finally sticks. Result! But is it in deep enough to hold my body weight? No. It isn’t. I crash downwards, ricocheting off the frozen, glassy wall. Kudos to mountaineers who do this for days on end.

£50 per hour for beginner climbing session (including all equipment and instruction), £35 for those who know the basics, and £25 for comfortable climbers with their own equipment.

For more info, see vertical-chill.com.

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