In January we went ice climbing in Berlin at Der Kegel.

Pascal wields the ice tools.
Pascal wields the ice tools.

To do ice climbing, you usually need a frozen waterfall or a glacier. At least you typically should be in some form of alpine setting. Here in Berlin, we do not have all this fancy stuff, and the landscape is pretty much flat. But thanks to the guys of “Der Kegel” we could enjoy our first routes of ice climbing earlier in January.

Der Kegel” is a former bunker from World War II in the form of a concrete cone. During warmer times it is used as a rock climbing spot that gets pretty crowded on the weekends. There is also a bouldering area close by.

In late January it had been snowing heavily for two or three weeks, and it was sufficiently cold. The guys of “Der Kegel” had prepared a few ice climbing routes on one side of the concrete cone. This side was completely frozen over and was covered with a thick layer of highly compressed snow. Three top rope systems had been installed that allowed the climbers to move quite freely on the wall.

After a few trials with the ice tools and crampons, we found a good rhythm and managed to ascent all the routes. It turned out to be much fun! At the same time, it is a lot of work. Add to this that we did not have the newest and lightest ice tools. Especially the repeated swinging of them gets your arms pumped much faster than you might imagine. So we were quite tired in the evening.

All in all, it was a fascinating experience, and I would recommend it to anyone who has done at least a bit of rock climbing before. Nonetheless, it is entirely different from what you are used to in regular climbing.