BSL's Blog

This winter, I'm trying...
ice climbing

Lun, 15 janvier 2024

Credit : Parc des Chutes, Rivière-du-Loup @Patric Nadeau

Have you ever wondered how crazy these colored dots hanging over a river in polar temperatures are? Yet ice climbing is an activity accessible to everyone. As long as you're not afraid of the cold!

In the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, ice axes can be planted at the magnificent Parc des Chutes de Rivière-du-Loup, on one of the few artificially-glaciated rock faces in Quebec. François Genin, director of Riki Bloc, demystifies this vertiginous sport for us.

So, shall we climb?

Is ice climbing only for " freaks "?

No, it's for anyone who wants to challenge themselves, who have the guts and in good physical shape. The important thing is to be willing. I've already initiated a gentleman over 70 years old.

As the activity is not risk-free, participants in our courses must be aged 12 or over.


What's the main difference with summer rock climbing?

In summer, the movements and route are dictated by the shape of the rock.

In winter, thanks to our ice axes, which enable us to go everywhere, we can shape our route. Since the surface is different from week to week, from winter to winter, we're always surprised by unexpected challenges, whereas in summer, the surface is unchanging. The highest technical level is reached more quickly on icy walls.

Credit : Parc des Chutes, Rivière-du-Loup @Mathieu Dupuis

I'd like to give it a try. How can I get started?

It's strongly recommended that you take a course, or at least be accompanied by a very good mentor. Since any fall is dangerous, you can't improvise yourself as a climber.

You also have to work on a brittle surface, so you need to develop good reflexes.

In our courses, we learn how to handle the rope, how to position yourself to avoid injury, how to abseil and how to belay your partner. Safety is extremely important.


What equipment do I need?

Climbing equipment, including boots and ice axes, is provided during the course.

The climber must wear very warm clothing, such as a down jacket and padded pants. Ice climbing is one of the winter sports where you stay static the longest. We alternate between intense climbing and the motionless belaying of our partner. So it's crucial to have several layers to remove or add as needed.


Why choose this sport?

One you are self-sufficient, ice climbing allows you to discover the land in a different light, revealing hidden treasures.

You can climb on tiny frozen nets in the backcountry, or big walls in the city. Every outing is an adventure in itself!

 

Introductory courses, lasting 5 h 30, will be offered twice this winter.

To reserve your place, visit RikiBloc.com

Credit : Parc des Chutes, Rivière-du-loup @Patric Nadeau

To see climbers in action

For almost 10 years, the "Grimpe en ville" festival has welcomed climbing enthusiasts from all over Quebec to the Parc des Chutes in Rivière-du-Loup.

The next edition, to be held on February 10th  and 11th , 2024, will be the perfect opportunity to see these men and women spiders take on the ice with mastery and courage.

High risk of getting hooked!

Credit : Grimpe en Ville, Parc des Chutes, Rivière-du-Loup @Mathieu Dupuis

Warm climbing

Are you a little too chilly (physically and mentally!) to venture out onto the ice? Two new indoor centers allow you to take on more modest challenges in comfortable conditions. A great way to improve your physical fitness, in a fun way!

Riki Bloc, Rimouski

This new center, housed in a former church, is home to the only track course in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region. Its 12-m tower allows you to test your mettle at heights, in complete safety and autonomy, thanks to an automatic belay system. The 4.5-m bouldering walls are also accessible to young and old alike.

Le Rebond, Saint-Germain-de-Kamouraska

Since 2023, this multidisciplinary center has been offering several bouldering walls for all levels, from beginners to professionals. Courses are also available.

Credit : Coopérative RikiBloc, Rimouski
Credit : Centre multidisciplinaire Le Rebond, Saint-Germain-de-Kamouraska

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