Cold-weather rock climbing and ice climbing have a bit of a reputation for unavoidable suffering, and while I can’t say they haven’t earned it in some ways, I can tell you a few methods for maximizing your warmth and enjoyment despite the cold. Beyond just the basics of proper layering, adequate clothing and exercise to keep warm, there are a few lessons I’ve learned from my own experiences that might help you get by in relative comfort.
As always, nothing I say replaces common sense, proper training and/or checking with your doctor if you have a condition that warrants it. I’m not in any way liable for anything that happens to you. Stay safe, have fun and live to climb another day!
1. The Windmill
For such a useful hand warming technique, I’m surprised at the number of climbers I encounter who don’t know about the simple windmill. This is perhaps the single most effective trick for keeping the screaming barfies at bay, and it’s also pretty useful for cold-weather rock climbing, skiing, or any other pursuit where your digits might be getting a bit chilled.