Mixed Climbing

It is climbing ice and rock at the same time.

Although it is a modern form of climbing, in fact from the beginnings of mountaineering, alpinists climbed mixed fields in their attempt to climb the most technically difficult peaks. After all, mountains are usually clusters of rock, ice and snow. A rope is considered mixed when it has mixed ice and rock along its entire length in different percentages or when it has a continuous part of rock and a continuous part of ice. A route is considered mixed when it has at least one mixed rope or at least one rock rope regardless of how it is climbed.

But how do the mixed ones climb?

We climb on the ice with crampons and ax techniques and on the rock with bare hands and special shoes with the appropriate movement techniques. In mixed climbing, however, things are not so clear and complicated enough, climbing is not monotonous, it takes skills and imagination. In terms of body movement we use rock techniques, but also ice climbing. Depending on how it is convenient and technically advantageous for us, we nail the axes or we catch the rock with our hands, we press the rocks with the crampons or we nail them to the ice. We will need to look to place fuses on both the ice and the rock, usually by clearing the surface snow first. On the mountain we have to deal with changeable alpine ice and snow in various hardnesses, even very soft. In ice waterfalls we have a more homogeneous and difficult type of ice (Water Ice), which is usually interrupted by sections of continuous rock. Today, with the modern technical axes, the difficulties of continuous rock are overcome with dry tooling techniques, which we also have to possess.

In Greece, mixed climbing is included in the so-called winter climbing, the climbing, that is, on the slopes of our mountains in conditions of snow and ice, obviously in the winter, since due to the latitude and altitude of our mountains appear only then. Although there are many classic routes of snow (gullies) and alpine ice, but also our paradise with ice waterfalls in Tzoumerka, the mixed routes are the majority of winter routes in Greece and definitely the most interesting. Many of them are among the most beautiful and difficult routes that one can climb in winter in our mountains, in an environment that always rewards aesthetically.

To taste the fruits of winter climbing, however, you must be an experienced and fast climber. Good rock climber with ease in installing fuses, but also a good operator of crampons and axes for ice and snow. In addition, they need the virtues of patience and composure as well as resistance to cold and hardship. But only these were enough! You must also be an experienced climber because there is access and return from the route, often in isolated areas. All of the above compose a unique climbing experience in the most beautiful natural environment, at least for us, the mountain. This is why it is considered by many to be the most complete form of climbing and the most dangerous.

Let us not forget that mountain climbing contains something poetic, especially in this form. Definitely worth it!

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HMGA | Association of Hellenic Mountain Guides