I am only few meters away from an ice wall for the first time in my life and while starring at it in owe, I forget to breathe, literally! So cold and so majestic and in the same time so attractive and shinning. It harks back childhood memories from the ice-skating ring, but it seems now two dimensions switched: the horizontal became the vertical and the ice wall is returning my gaze…
My guide Andrew goes up first and puts the ice screws in. He moves so smoothly and quickly that you are tempted to believe the ice wall is downhill not uphill. With a smirk on his face, he tells me: “your turn now. I won’t tell you a thing, figure it out.” So anxious to give it a try, I feel relieved he is not going to delay any longer the moment I can go up.
Helmet and harness on, ice axes in my hands I feel like one of the dwarfs in the Snow-White tale heading to the mines. Can almost hear the song playing in my head: “We dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, from early morn till night We dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig up everything in sight”. Looking for a friendly spot for my ax…whacking once, twice…like knocking at a door…no one answers, so I am looking for another door …one whack and it seems someone is home…I fell I am getting a good grip this time. Hitting the ice with my crampon…like hitting the ball while playing soccer…hitting once, twice…yes, it feels like I scored. Doing the same again and again…and climbing this imaginary ladder I am building to the top of the wall. The fear of falling keeps me glued to the wall and the desire to get to the top pulls me up like a parachute opening every time I raise my ice ax.
There is something magical about this place…I can’t tell if it feels like this because of the ice walls or because of the timid snow flakes that have been dancing in the cold air since we got here or because of both. Everything is white and the music that makes the snow flake dance is in fact a very calming silence, that offers a soothing massage to your mind. The name of the place should be Winter Wonderland…the real one is Kinsman Notch.
There is no doubt the ice wall likes my hugs…I can see tears of joy dripping from the spots where the sun projects its rays. The ice wall is alive…it listens to my heart beats and whispers in my ear, with the murmur of the hidden springs waiting patiently for another season to come. I am hooked….Rumney is next and I’ll be dreaming about my next ice climb tomorrow.