At the most basic level, three primary components are required to climb frozen waterfalls: vertical relief, water, and cold. In the upper Midwest, we are blessed with an abundance of water and some vertical relief, both of which brings us ice climbers great joy. However, cold is the unknown variable in this equation, which has become increasingly more important to us each coming season. In some years, the north wind blows early, causing the water to get hard so we can make our annual pilgrimage north by late December. In other years, it seems like the cold will never arrive, so the ice doesn't form much at all.
Climate change is real. There is no question that it is happening and we need to make conscious effort as individuals to educate ourselves about this issue. Global warming is an issue affecting us as ice climbers and I urge you to consider your daily actions to think not of just today, but for winters to come and many more pitches of ice to climb. This is a global issue affecting us on a regional level. Your actions in this region today are amplified on the global scale.
Live for Winter!