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Passionate about ice climbing

EMMA MINNICK

Hey, winter is here so you better bundle up for this year’s season. What’s your thing? Is it skiing, snowboarding, sledding, dog sledding, or ice skating? Well, my thing is ice climbing. I’m an eleven-year-old girl climber and I love to ice climb. I also love to rock climb. When I was six years old I started climbing in an indoor climbing gym. People ask me a lot if I like rock or ice climbing better. I like ice climbing a lot and I love rock climbing, but I don’t prefer one over the other.

My family loves to climb and we learned about ice climbing at the Michigan Ice Fest in Munising. This is when I discovered my love for ice climbing. I wrote an article about how I loved rock climbing and I won the Sue Nott Climbing Scholarship. I got gear for free, met up with some girls who were new at it too and some who have been doing it for a while and I also got to meet pro ice climbers. That’s how it started and just a few days later we were participating in Ice Fest.

My mom told me there was a group called Pictured Rocks Climbing Academy (PRCA). The group is all girls so far, ages 13 to 18, but it is a co-ed group. When I joined the group, they changed the age range from 13-18 to 9-18. I have been in this club since I was 9 and I love it.

Some of the ice climbing equipment is not designed for kids, not because the sport is not for younger people, but because not a lot of kids like ice climbing and some have never heard of it. The gear we have is very heavy and the ice climbing shoes are not made in any kid sizes so we had to use ski boots because they have a front thing to clip the crampons on to the boots. Crampons are spikes that clip on to your ice climbing boots or ski boots. I also have to use my mom’s ice axes to climb but they are too big so right now we are making our own ice axes. Ice axes are used to jam into the ice, then you hold on to them to get up the wall. We also use other equipment like ropes, but I don’t know how to use them so I need an adult there to help, but that doesn’t stop me from trying and enjoying new things.

Even my little sister, June ice climbs. She started in a gym climbing rock walls and then when she got older we took her with us and she used my boots. She has her own climbing harness used for rock and ice. My whole family and I climb and hike all the time. It’s a good way to stay healthy and get outside during the long months of winter.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sixth-grader Emma Minnick goes to Bothwell Middle School and her passion is ice climbing. She is also a guardian youth volunteer at the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum.