Sometimes you need to embrace the cold, but there’s nothing pleasant about freezing your ass off. If you want to warm up, move! If the way ahead looks difficult, “Take a deep breath, relax your grip, look around, and find your feet.” – Almost a year later, this is still the piece that speaks to me.
Finding your Feet
Most people who don’t climb assume it’s all about strength. Strength isn’t the key though – it’s all about finding your feet.
Steep terrain is intimidating. It’s physically draining, but fighting the pump is usually as simple as being mindful of where you put your feet. If you look closely enough, that vertical sheet of ice is full of small features you can use to your advantage. Step wide and kick into that protruding runnel of ice to force your feet back, moving your center of gravity forward. Use your frontpoints to chop away the top of a bulge to create a flat-footed stance and alleviate the burning in your calves. Backstep against another pillar or the rock face beside you. Look around. Don’t worry so much about looking ahead, instead look down and be precise. Find good footing and relax.
When things get hard, it’s easy to be scared. The route ahead seems uncertain. Take a deep breath, relax your grip, look around, and find your feet.