During the warmer seasons, scaling a vertical rock face takes skill, strength, stamina, and courage. In winter, when the rock face is covered with snow and ice, it takes a whole lot more. Ice climbing or Mountaineering is a specialized form of mountain climbing and its popularity among extreme athletes is at an all-time high. It requires specialized equipment and an iron nerve so it may not be for everyone. For those looking to get started in Ice climbing, the following is a list of resources to get you started. Here are the best places to ice climb near Pittsburgh.
Exkursion Outfitters - 4037 William Penn Highway Monroeville, PA 15146; (412) 372-7030; exkursion.com
Exkusion Outfitters, located in Monroeville, is Pittsburgh area’s best source for ice climbing supplies, guides, and professional instruction. The owner, Fred Gunter first opened the store in 1974 to fill a niche in the backpacking, kayaking, and climbing market. Since then Exkursion Outfitters has evolved into the largest independent supplier of extreme outdoor equipment and is a favorite amongst the ice climbing community. For more information on rock and ice climbing classes available at Exkursion Outfitters Click Here.
Water Stone Outdoors - 101 East Wiseman Avenue Fayetteville, WV 25840; 304-574-2425; www.waterstoneoutdoors.com
For outdoor enthusiasts, a trip to the New River Gorge area of West Virginia would be incomplete without a visit to Water Stone Outdoors. The New River Gorge, a metaphorical mecca for extreme sports is probably best known for its annual Bridge Day Celebration where hundreds of base jumpers come from all corners of the globe to leap from center of the New River Gorge Bridge. For those more interested in scaling the walls of the gorge as opposed to leaping from them Water Stone has got you covered. Since 1994 they’ve been supplying mountaineers with everything that is needed to attempt a climb on one of the more than 20 sandstone, rock wall routes that attract climbers year round.
Explorers Club of Pittsburgh - 801 North Negley Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15206; www.pittecp.org
In 1947 the Explorers Club of Pittsburgh started with the straightforward motto, Research, Education, and Adventure. More than 65 years later those same principles are still at the center of everything the ECP does. Activities of pursuit by the club include, “mountaineering, rock climbing, skiing, scuba diving, canoeing, kayaking, caving, cycling, backpacking, environmental and community service projects, and a host of outdoor sports,” accord to the ECP website. For more information on membership enrollment at the Explorers Club of Pittsburgh Click Here.