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Ice Climbing in Rhodes

Written by Chi Ingledew

I am not sure how I am going to acclimates after ice-climbing.

Often I think that nothing quite beats the feeling of “jump in the car, we are off on another mission urg”. Spontaneity and adventure are both symbolistic and an elated story to me. To my family, these “missions” often leave them wondering what unconceivable experience I might be exposed to next. I don’t need much “mission” detail, besides telling me exactly everything I need to pack as colour coordination is a thing in our household. The rest can be left to the navigator, playing to Terence’s strengths. We are both in our elements and ready to “live” as we call it.

Terence’s casual voice perked up last week, “want to go ice climbing?” “YESSSS!” And with that, I stood up from my desk (without my coffee) and walked over to him, and said, “when?”. 48 hours later we were shifting life, on the road, and had arrived at our new destination. We eagerly rushed to catch the last ice for the 2020 winter season. The little Rhodes Village comes with big mountains, low temperatures, and a feeling of “home”. I stuck my feet into boots about three sizes too big, drowned in shell pants, lifted my new accessories for the day, “ice axes” and slushed as I walked through the icey base of the mountain. I could see some of the ice melting from the blazing sunshine. I wondered just how sopping wet I would be if this summer waterfall poured down on me. I stopped and thought how like all things in life we go through seasons and cycles. Who better to learn this from but nature itself.

I kicked one toe into the ice, then then next dug my ice axe into the ice and up I went. I called down to the ground “I think I might be scared - shit I am high”. My experienced belayer and now friend, Wesley, shouted back to me, “Isn’t that cool?”. Well, that’s another perspective I thought… and somehow I felt at ease. I was excited to once again feel as though I was living on the edge. My core held me as I lifted the next limb, learning to trust my body, control my mind, and feel my breath. I am alive! Each movement needed to be precise, intentional and a phenomenal mind-body awareness was required. All gifts I have received from doing Pilates.

As I reached the top, my mind had calmed, yet my concentration had sharpened. My body was still holding onto every single stabiliser that exists in the human body. I was feeling, a lot of feelings! I had a huge sense of achievement as I submitted my ice wall. I was overwhelmed and humbled by this 30-meter majestic mountain that I had come to know so intimately. Undoubtedly, one of the most exhilarating feelings I have ever experienced. I will carry this heigh with me, until next winter.

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