The Cover of Night Adds a New Challenge To Ice Climbing

Updated: 02/17/2013 10:34 PM By: Todd Wilson

Dan Monskey and his friends are hiking through the woods high above the Kettle River in Pine County.

"The view is stupendous and vast from up here," Monskey said. 

They are on top of a quarry 55 feet high. it's a journey by day to set up a nighttime adventure.

Monskey and his pals are dedicated and experienced rock climbers. But on this occasion their challenge is ice climbing.

"The higher you get, the further you get into the puzzle, the more exciting and action packed it is," Monskey said.

The group has come this far to connect a battery to several strips of lights hanging under the ice. those lights will highlight their climb in the dark.

Cecilia Howard gets in a climb before nightfall. She is using her ice picks and crampons that are attached to her boots to claw her way up. as she climbs you can faintly see the color green through the ice. As day turns to night the rich colors underneath finally shine through when it is pitch black in the quarry.

Sam Griffith is in the process of belaying or securing a fellow climber from the ground. he says, by adding the lights it doesn't alter the ice but rather it changes your experience.

"It's amazing. It's pretty cool seeing all the light kick through the ice and kind of glows the entire column," Griffith said.       

Climbers say, the light almost looks alive, as if it is oozing over the edge of the face of the rock.
"I find, I'm working on what's right in front of my face at that time. And getting to the next point, next level," Monskey said.

Monskey says, ice climbing all by itself is heart-pounding, exhilarating and speechless at times. he says, experiencing it by night amongst the lights, is surreal.