Training for ice a mixed climbing can also be beneficial for everyday life

There is a lesser-known sport that is beneficial for people of all ages. That sport is ice climbing, and there is a gym in Utah County that allows those in the community to enjoy the benefits of this skilled exercise all year long.

Climbing of any sorts leads to a generally healthy lifestyle if pursued with any regularity. The Scratch Pad in Orem provides mixed and dry-tool climbing, giving a year-round climbing focus, and preparing climbers for winter climbing, or for life in general.

For those focused on training for ice climbing, the gym offers dry-tooling and recommends weight training beginning in early fall to get ready for the winter season. And whether you choose to work out with machines or free-weights, at a gym or at home, strength training is critical to your success. Higher reps with lower weight and working on ice or dry-tooling specific moves while wearing weighted vests go a long way to prepare us for the start of the season as well as helping to prevent injuries during the regular season. 

Climbers often practice specific moves in a format called “time under tension,” which simply means hanging or resting in a position for a specific amount of time to mimic the demands of being on a vertical or overhanging wall. The demands on athletes that have their arms overhead most of the time are different from other sports and we train our core, shoulders and back muscles to pull/ twist as opposed to more traditional push/pull workouts.

Maintaining  overall flexibility not only serves us well in climbing but in our daily lives as well. Many people believe that the older they get, the less mobile they become and that it is a direct result of aging. This is not true. Our mobility as humans in general, and as climbers specifically, is a direct result of the daily time that we invest in maintaining the suppleness of our muscles, tendons, ligaments and skeletal structure. Flexibility is much like the daily activities of brushing, flossing, sleeping and eating. It is simply part of what is done to maintain our structure. Spending 10 to 15 minutes twice a day is optimal for maintaining our ability to sit, stand, twist, reach and get up off of the ground and is beneficial to all humans regardless of their age.  

With the 2022-23 ice and mixed climbing season in full swing there is no better time to adopt a climbing lifestyle and begin to reap the rewards of an active and healthy lifestyle.

Classes, clinics, training and meetups all can be found at Also, check out the social media links below to learn more about the ice and mixed climbing community in Utah. On Instagram @climbthescratchpad, and on Facebook at “The Scratch Pad” and “Utah Ice Climbers and Utah Ice and Mixed Climbers.”

Submitted by Richard Harrison

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