Training for Ice & Mixed Climbing - Build a Solid Foundation

Who doesn’t want to climb more?  Who doesn’t want to climb harder?

This is the first in a series of 8 to-the-point, no B.S. posts coming from September through December to get you ready for ice season.  We’ll use photos and videos to show you the exercise and proper technique with ACE Certified Fitness Trainer and Ice Climber Marian DeWitt. These posts are not for beginners.  We’ll be assuming you know enough about the basics of climbing and working out.

Ice Climbing Training Ingram Falls.jpg

Whether your goal is a 550’ stout icy directiissima like Bridalveil Falls in Telluride or a bouldery mixed climb at Haffner Creek, this series is meant to get you stronger so you can climb harder, longer, and most importantly, SAFER. Because what’s better than climbing?: More climbing!

Choosing a goal will make training much easier.  So, what is your goal?  Aiming to tackle a big new climb this season?  Weekend warrior?  Just climb ice as much as you can? Write your goal down. Right now. Make it real. Not just on a computer, use an actual pen.  Set a photo of it as your desktop pic or smartphone background. Make it the focus of your climbing training.

Ice Climbing Training Goals.jpg

Whatever your goals are, you need to be strong and aerobically fit to be safe.  We’re going to get you there. Here’s how:

12 Weeks of Training

-Build a Solid Foundation

-Hard Core
-Harder Core

-Endurance - How Long Can you Last…?
-Special Techniques

-Head Games
-Taking it Outside

Each of these workouts is meant to build on the previous. This means that as workouts progress, you must continue doing the previous routines as part of your new workout. Continuity is important.  Neglecting part of the workouts will negate the benefits of the early posts and open you up to injury.

Ice Climbing Training Glacier Ice.jpg

Notes on Climbing Safety:
Ice climbing, like all other types of climbing, is extremely dangerous.  Always climb within your ability, after carefully judging the safety of the route. Failure for you to follow these conditions may result in injury or death. No one is responsible for your actions but you. Be an adult.  Take the risks very seriously.

Notes on Workout Safety:
-Take 5-10 minutes to warm up and cool down properly. Light running, biking, stretching.
-Start slowly and boost your activity level gradually.
-Training too hard or too often can cause overuse injuries like stress fractures, stiff or sore joints and muscles, and inflamed tendons and ligaments. Activities requiring repetitive wear and tear on certain parts of your body - such as climbing (shoulders, elbows, fingers) - are often the cause of overuse injuries. Mix different kinds of activities, get sufficient rest, stretch, and hydrate!
-Listen to your body. Hold off on exercise when you're sick or feeling very fatigued. Cut back if you cannot finish an exercise session, feel faint or fatigued during the day, or suffer persistent aches and pains in joints after exercising.
-If you stop exercising for a while, drop back to a lower level of exercise initially.
-Remember to work the counter muscles i.e. doing push-ups after a lot of pulling.
-For strength training, good form is essential. Never sacrifice good form by hurrying to finish reps or sets.
-Did we mention that you should hydrate?

A Note on Diet
Extensive diet recommendations are outside the scope of these posts.  But if you really want to see results, cut out the #1 offender: Alcohol.

K. Let’s get to it.

Build a Solid Foundation

It’s a cliche but it’s true: we have to learn to walk before we can run.  Our goal here is to build and maintain a solid foundation so you can focus future workouts on ice and mixed climbing specific exercises.  If any of this sounds sounds boring, make it fun by working out with a friend, listening to music, slacklining between sets, or whatever you must do to get and remain amped.

If you do nothing else, the regimen below should be your standard workout to get yourself ready for ice climbing. If your goal is just to climb a lot, this will prepare you.  If you can’t do all of these at first, that’s OK, work up to it and do the best you can.  You will see improvement quickly.

Remember to always stretch before and after working out.

Foundation Workout - 3x / week
3 x 30 Pull-Ups - two sets on tools, one on hands
3 x 30 Lock Offs
3 x 30 Push-Ups (Bonus if you do them on tools or a Bosu Ball)
3 x 15 Hanging Leg Raises on tools.

3-5min rests between exercises.

Aerobic work i.e. 30-40 mins running, biking, or swimming.  Get that heart rate UP!

3 x 30 Pull-Ups - two sets on tools, one on hands, 3 x 30 Lock Offs

3 x 30 Pull-Ups - two sets on tools, one on hands, 3 x 30 Lock Offs

3 x 15 Hanging Leg Raises on tools.

3 x 15 Hanging Leg Raises on tools.


Calf Raises 3 x 15

Calf Raises 3 x 15

Calf Raises
Few muscles get worked when ice climbing as much as calves.  Get them used to the abuse now and you’ll be ready for that extended screw placement.
Hanging onto a sturdy object for balance, stand on something to raise the front of your foot higher than your heels. Exhale and lift your body using your calves to get a full contraction through your foot. Contract the calves hard at the top and hold for a second. Inhale as you lower down. Repeat for 3 x 15.  For a better workout do this one leg at a time.

Grip Strength

10 mins of Dead Hangs.  Hang for as long as you can.

10 mins of Dead Hangs.  Hang for as long as you can.

Dead Hangs
When ice or mixed climbing, at some point you’ll be hanging solely from your tools. Being able to hold on for a long time greatly increases your chances of sending, or better yet, not falling while festooned with all manner of pointy ironmongery.  
The dead hang is a simple exercise and is a great way to develop the fundamental grip strength. It's important to learn to dead hang with good form. Maintain a shoulder width grip.  Shoulders are pulled down and back so that it doesn't feel like your arms are being pulled from the sockets. Hang for as long as you can.  Repeat and try to beat you longest time. Do this for 10 mins.

Shoulders / Back

15-20 mins of Rows

15-20 mins of Rows

The purpose of rows is to strengthen the muscles that draw the arms toward the body, or in our case, the body to the ice tools.
Ideally you have access to a low pulley row machine with a V-bar. The V-bar enables you to have a neutral grip where the palms of your hands face each other (like ice tools).  If you don’t there are a bazillion variations to the row that can be done with free weights, exercise bands, even a rock.
On the machine, Lean over as you keep the natural alignment of your back and grab the V-bar handles. With your arms extended pull back until your torso is at a 90-degree angle from your legs. Your back should be slightly arched and your chest should be sticking out. You should be feeling a nice stretch on your lats as you hold the bar in front of you. This is the starting position of the exercise. Keeping the torso stationary, pull the handles back towards your torso while keeping the arms close to it until you touch your abs. Breathe out as you pull in. At that point you should be squeezing your back muscles hard. Hold that contraction for a second and slowly go back to the original position while breathing in.
Row for 15-20 mins.

2-3 Hours Climbing in the Gym
Hey, if your gym is like ours it’s basically social hour most of the time. If it is, get in there anyway, get moving, have a good time with friends while helping to build your foundation.

2-3 Hours Climbing in the Gym

2-3 Hours Climbing in the Gym

This is the first post in a series of eight to get you ready and training for ice & mixed climbing. Stay tuned for the next post in the series coming Oct 2nd.

Does your climbing gym not allow sharp ice tools in their facility? 

Pick up a pair of gym safe Dry Ice Tools for training inside the climbing gym –  Here

Ice Climbing Festivals 2017 - 2018

Ice climbing continues to grow! And with it are several 'mark your calendars NOW' events that bring us climbers together for fun, friends, ice climbing, and usually lots of beer.  Check out the starred events to get your hands on DRY ICE Tools, ICICLES, and KRONOS!


Portland Alpine Festival November 14-18 2017 Portland OR

Bozeman Ice Festival December 6-10 2017 Bozeman, MT

Sandstone Ice FestivalJanuary 2018 Robinson Park Quarry, Sandstone, MN

Adirondack International Mountain Fest January 2018 Keene Valley, NY

*Ouray Ice Fest January 18-21, 2018 Ouray, CO

Smuggler's Notch Ice Bash January 19-21, 2018 Smugglers Notch, VT

Catskill Ice Festival January 2018 New Paltz, NY

Mt. Washington Valley Ice Festival February 2-4, 2018 North Conway, NH

Cody Ice Fest February 7-11, 2018 Cody, Wyoming

Lake City Ice Climbing Festival Feb  2018 Lake City Colorado

Duluth Ice & Mixed Fest February 9-11, 2018, Duluth, Minnesota

Michigan Ice Fest February 14-18, 2017 Munising, MI

Valdez Ice Fest February 2017 Valdez, Alaska  Get REALLY psyched with this:

Rock Spot IceFest Feb 2017 The Flume Gorge NH 

Southern Ontario Ice Fest February 24-26 Maynooth, Ontario, Canada 

*Furnace Industries will be there! Make sure to check out tjhe KRONOS, DRY ICE Tools and ICICLES. Follow our Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram feed for live tweets and onsite info.


Remarkables Ice & Mixed Festival Aug 17-20 2017 Queenstown NZ


Portillo Ice Fest Aug 11-13 2017 Portillo, Chile

DRY ICE Holds by Atomik Climbing Holds

Atomik Climbing Holds recently developed a line of holds specifically for DRY ICE Tools, and they are spectacular!  Below is a brief review of the 40 holds they've developed, why they are awesome, and links to where to get them.

There are 5 sets in the proton-based series.

15 SUPER SMALL $47.96

These are by far the most technical holds in the line.  Climbers must deftly focus on body positioning and steady strap placement or, like any placement outdoors, the placement may blow of the hold.  Truly the realm of a technical master, these holds put the mixed climber's skills to the test.


ACH also cleverly designed in a unique feature to this line:  Many of the holds have side 'protons' that help to lock the strap of the DRY ICE Tool in place when loaded in a specific direction.

10 SUPER SMALL $15.26

Not really a variation of the proton line, these holds are easily some of the best holds for DRY ICE Tools on the market today.  This is because they are small, just-positive-enough micro horns that come in a pack of 10.  So with only 2 sets of these, you have a 60ft (18m) route.  At only $15.26 per set, these are such an incredible steal.


Increasing in size, these are holds can be forgiving on the new ice climber.  Like the 15 Super Small, some of the holds in this set of 5 have side protons that help lock in the strap for interesting and secure placements.  They average 3-5 in in diameter with about 2 in of positivity, making for easily loop-able placements.

For more of a challenge, use these holds on steeper terrain and use only the side protons.  By setting these holds on steep routes, you really get two sets of holds for the price of one:  One set for easier routes, and one for steep and technical climbing.


Just a small percentage larger than the 5 Medium Protons, this set shares many of the same features.  Set on vertical to off-vertical terrain, these are very simple to use with the DRY ICE Tools.  Set on steep terrain the Large Protons will test technical skills by using only a single proton.

5 XL PROTONS $75.00

As big as is reasonable to use with DRY ICE Tools, the XL Protons are mega-fun in a mega-size.  The single large proton is perfect for the strap on core-working super steep terrain.  Think overhanging roof lines, challenging DRY ICE boulder problems, underclings, as well as in opposition.

All of these holds can also be used for rock climbing, so precious real estate is not lost when setting routes for DRY ICE Tools.  Each set is also available in a huge selection of colors on the Atomik site.  You can even purchase the entire lot on one discounted package!

The Whole Shebang $222.72

The Whole Shebang $222.72




Suffering through a hot, humid, sticky New York summer, we like to escape to the ice with laps on DRY ICE Tools, and also some get-amped-for-winter films.

Hot Aches consistently produces excellent and award-laden climbing films.  From their early work in E11 to their latest installments, they are able to weave very beautiful pictures coupled with a compelling story, something lacking in many of today’s climbing films.

How close to the edge can you take it?  How do you reckon the route and the risk?  The film asks two simple but loaded questions.  However the film’s main mechanism is not an original idea.  It’s the main character, a Yorkshireman who once worked in the coal mines, quietly narrating over footage of him climbing.

Andy Cave, full of energy and zeal for life, shows us some of the best of Scottish winter climbing.  At around 34 min tho, shit gets real. The climbing... The story...  I’m not going to spoil it.  It’s just a fabulous piece of filmmaking and storytelling.

Intercut with literary moments and scotch barrels are Steck-style fall line assaults and excellent, hard earned camerawork to capture Cave and his partner Gary Kinsey climbing on Ben Nevis and other Scottish areas.

Worth a look for sure. Def worth the purchase (or rent).  Pour three fingers and enjoy.

Produced and directed by Paul Diffley.  42 min


The GriGri +

The Petzl GriGri +

The Petzl GriGri +

When new gear arrives on the market, some of us get excited, some of us are cautious, and some of us our downright skeptical.  If you fall into one of these categories, we did the review work for you and asked Matt Shove, an AMGA Rock Instructor, Asst. Alpine Guide, and SPI Provider to review the new GriGri +.  in 90 days, he put almost 70,000ft (that 's 21,000m') of varying diameter rope through the new device.  Here is his take on climbing's newest Gri-Grinnoavtion. -BC

I’ve been using an original GriGri since about 1995.  I used the 'old iron-sides' for a long time, then in 2010 I got a GriGri 2 (Retail $99.95 USD). The GriGri 2 worked wonders, was rated for skinny ropes, and still performs admirably.  I use my GriGri 2 about 250 days a year.  It’s a staple on my gear sling.  Frankly, I’m not sure what I’d do without it. 

The GriGri + used on a bolted anchor in Red Recks.

The GriGri + used on a bolted anchor in Red Recks.

I came into a GriGri + (Retail $149.95 USD) in late winter 2016-17 and I’ve used it almost daily since.  I’ve lugged it up an ice climb in NH, belayed in the gym with it, belayed outside on the crags at work.  I’ve even lugged it up Black Orpheus (IV 5.10) in Red Rocks in April.

The GriGri + used on a gear anchor in Red Rocks.

The GriGri + used on a gear anchor in Red Rocks.

Here’s what I think:

•    The lead belay mode works great.  I am impressed that it works so well. I’ve used the GriGri + on ropes ranging from 9.2 - 10.2mm and I have rarely had to override the lead belay function.
•    The Anti-Panic release lever works great.  Pull the lever too hard?  It locks. Simply reset and continue lowering.
•    The top rope function is just like a Gri Gri 2.  Simple, effective, and reliable.
•    Works just like the Gri Gri and Gri Gri 2 when belaying directly off of the anchor.
•    Add the Petzl Frieno carabiner (Retail $49.95 USD) for the win.
•    Added durability.  The GriGri + has a steel plate on the swing plate to add durability.  
•    The GriGri + release lever requires a couple of extra inches of clearance when belaying directly off of the anchor due to the anti-panic lever.  

Do you need a GriGri + if you already have a GriGri 2?

No.  The GriGri 2 works great and is lighter and $50 cheaper.  Most owners are effective at operating the GriGri 2, and there is no need to switch. Of course, if you want one, you can't go wrong with this added tool in you kit.

A client belays Climbing Guide Matt Shove with a GriGri +

A client belays Climbing Guide Matt Shove with a GriGri +

If you are a climbing instructor working in a professional capacity, this could be a good tool to add to you quiver.  I plan to have my guests belay me with the GriGri + for additional security while I climb and while they lower me.  It provides me an added edge and I think this could add value with limited disadvantage.  

Duration of use: 90 days
Pitches Belayed approx. 500
Gym Pitches: 200

Matt Shove, AMGA Rock Instructor, Asst. Alpine Guide, SPI Provider

Time to Climb Fest is this Weekend!

FURNACE INDUSTRIES is very proud to present Time to Climb Fest on April 22 at the NJ Rock Gym.  Time To Climb Fest is a day event of Pro Climbers, Clinics, Workshops, Films, Gear Demos, Giveaways & More! Get your tickets here:

During the day – NJ Rock Gym

9:30am to 5:30pm
Climbing Clinics:

Climbing Techniques Clinic with Paul Robinson & Alex Kahn – 10:00am– Register
Beginner Training & Climbing Techniques with Nina Williams  -10:00am – Register
Advance Training & Climbing Techniques with Nina Williams – 1:00pm – Register
Dry Ice Tool Clinics  – FREE – Sponsored by Furnace Industries Training for Ice inside the Climbing Gym with Mike Burk – 10:00am & 1:00pm – Sign-up

Professional Development Workshops: – Free
Promote your Skills to Climb– By Luis Hernandez of IBM
Networking in the Digital Age – By Nicholas Hernandez of Time to Climb
more tba

Meet & Greet with Pro Climbers
3:30pm – 5:00pm @ NJ Rock Gym

A Night of Films & Talks

with Paul Robinson, Alex Kahn & Nina Williams

The Darress Theater – 615 Main St Boonton, NJ
Doors: 7:00pm
Featured Films & Talks:
Premiere of Uncharted Lines:

Premiere of Ronnie Dickson: The V10 Project
Sending Ambrosia a presentation by Nina Williams
Chasing Winter:


Get Tickets – HERE

Non-Profit Partner: Peak Potential –
A raffle of donated prizes will be held in the evening at the Darress theater to help raise money for Peak Potential!


Art in Ice Climbing

Ice climbers are a creative bunch, likely due to the mental processes required to get us to the top of a frozen bit of water.  There are really very few rules in this activity. We are after all climbing with a portable one-armed belay. Anything goes really, just get to the top safely.

And just as there are few rules in climbing there are seems to also be few rules in how to approach the artistry used in Ice Fest Posters.

Ouray From Above

Ouray From Above

Last year, FI Co-Owner Ben Carlson shot aerial footage of the Ice Park and Camp Bird Rd.  Get psyched with his edit, and be sure to come by our booth to check out the Kronos, DRY ICE Tools, and ICICLES.  See you at the fest!

The Moment

The Moment

It's rare, that feeling you get when the pick sinks into the ice just right.  The moment we all seek as climbers, that perfect stick, that perfect moment.

North American Ice Climbing Festivals 2016 - 2017

Ice climbing continues to grow! And with it are several 'mark your calendars NOW' events that bring us climbers together for fun, friends, ice climbing, and usually lots of beer.  Check out the starred events to get your hands on DRY ICE Tools and KRONOS!

Portland Alpine Festival November 15-19 2016 Portland OR

Bozeman Ice Festival December 7-11, 2016 Bozeman, MT

Sandstone Ice FestivalJanuary 6-8 2017 Robinson Park Quarry, Sandstone, MN

Adirondack International Mountain Fest January 13-15 2017 Keene Valley, NY

*Ouray Ice Fest January 19-22, 2017 Ouray, CO

Smuggler's Notch Ice Bash January 20-22, 2017 Smugglers Notch, VT

Catskill Ice Festival January 27 - January 30, 2017 New Paltz, NY

Mt. Washington Valley Ice Festival February 3-5, 2017 North Conway, NH

Cody Ice Fest February 10-12, 2017 Cody, Wyoming

Lake City Ice Climbing Festival Feb 4 2017 Lake City Colorado

Duluth Ice & Mixed Fest February 10-12, 2017, Duluth, Minnesota

Michigan Ice Fest February 15-19, 2017 Munising, MI

*Valdez Ice Fest February 17-20 2017 Valdez, Alaska  Get REALLY psyched with this:

Rock Spot IceFest Feb 18-23 2017 The Flume Gorge NH 

Southern Ontario Ice Fest February 24-26 Maynooth, Ontario, Canada 

*Furnace Industries will be there! Make sure to check out tjhe KRONOS, DRY ICE Tools and ICICLES. Follow our Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram feed for live tweets and onsite info.

The Kronos: Mixed Pick vs Ice Pick

Winter climbing can throw out a lot of variables: rotten ice, crumbing rock, styrofoam snow, spindrift, bears...

In today’s winter climbing venues, having gear with the ability to adapt to changing conditions is a requirement. It should be no surprise that we designed the pick to be replaceable on the Kronos Wood Ice Tool.  We wouldn’t buy it ourselves if it wasn’t.

In fact, there are two types of picks available for the Kronos Wood Ice Tool, the Kronos Ice Pick, and the Kronos Mixed Pick (both are available here). The main difference is that the thickness of the Ice Pick is 3mm at the tip while the Mixed Pick is 4mm at the tip.  Changing a pick on the the world's only technical tool made of wood is pretty simple: remove the bolts, spread the wood, remove and replace the pick.

Many climbers have inquired what exactly are the differences between our unique picks. Below are the details of each pick, how they differ from one another, and why:

The Mixed Pick (avalaible HERE)

Hand made, hand finished replacement pick for mixed climbing.

Features include:

-Thick 4mm tool-grade steel down to tip of the pick, Type T rated

-More aggressive pick angle for the demands of mixed climbing.  Specifically, a 3.8° increase in pick angle from our Ice pick

-Built-in hammer

-Hedgehog teeth on top of pick for stability during stein pull maneuvers

-Wider at the tip than our Ice pick to standup to abuse

-At the point in the pick that recieves the most torque (measured at 25mm from the tip) the depth of the Mixed Pick (the distance from the top of the pick's bevel to the teeth) is .75 mm more than the Ice Pick (Bonus detail at the end of this article)

-Weight: 199g (7oz)

The Ice Pick (available HERE)

Hand made, hand finished replacement pick for ice climbing.

Features include:

-Pick thickness narrows from 4mm at the pick head to 3mm at the pick’s tip for ease of ice placements and minimal ice displacement

-Ideal pick angle arrived at with input from 25 recreational climbers, 25 guides, and 25 pro climbers

-Smooth top of pick for ease of removing deep ice placements

-Type B rated

-Weight: 180g (6.3oz)

For more visual comparison, check out these pics below:

Ice Pick on Top.  Mixed Pick Below.

Detail comparison.  Note the differences in thickness at the pick's tip.

Here, the Mixed Pick is on top of the Ice Pick.  The hammer and aggressive angle of the mixed pick are clear. 

Here. the Ice Pick is on top of the Mixed Pick.  The 3.8° difference in pick angle is clear.

Bonus Extra Techy Detail

While the difference in depth between the Ice and Mixed Pick is only .75mm, a tiny amount, the added thickness of the Mixed Pick amounts to a 11.39 sq mm difference in cross sectional area over the Ice Pick at 25mm from the tip.  That’s 27.5% more material at the point of highest torque.


7 Reasons to train for ice climbing

Furnace Industries is two guys, Ben and George. While we like to think we’re industry standard setting uber-ice climbers who invented and hand produce cool products including a new ice axe, the reality is we get bogged down with real life, family, career, and the minutia of running a small climbing gear company.  So when we finally get to go ice climbing we want to be in the best shape possible so we can have the most fun.  But there are more practical reasons to train in and out of the climbing gym.  Read on for 7 of them…

1 - You’ll get used to the ‘Disconnect’

Not a lot has been written about the Disconnect but it can be a very real barrier to entry for many new ice climbers.  Unlike rock climbing where we use bare hands and feel the rock to know how a hold feels, we primarily use ice climbing tools to ice climb.  Because we’re not physically grabbing the medium on which we’re climbing, there is a ‘disconnect’ between climbing and medium that can mess with some folks heads.  This is the #1 problem new ice climbers face.  Add to that disconnect cold fingers, wind, crampons, bulky clothes and gloves, snow in your face, maybe even a face shield, and it’s easy to realize why ice climbing can be at first overwhelming.

By training with Dry Ice Tools, new and even seasoned climbers can overcome that disconnect months in advance of winter’s first icicle formation. Dry Ice Tools teach climbers learn to get a feel for security of the hold through the shaft of the tool. In ice climbing this is called ‘pick feedback’.  The more in-tune the climber is with the feel of placement, the higher the confidence level.

After all, why waste the first few days of the season getting ready for that hard project when you can be ready for it on day 1.

2 - Prevent injury

This cannot be stressed enough. Hitting that crimp on your favorite boulder problem 1,000 times will result in injury. If you want a long and healthy rock and ice climbing career, you must do other activities. One of the main ways to prevent injury is to cross train.

Dry Ice Tooling, lifting weights, running, biking and doing yoga in addition to your climbing routine will develop muscles that climbing neglects, ensuring that your muscles remain in proper balance. Plus, it just makes you a more interesting human being to have interests outside of climbing.

3 - Your head will be in the right place

Leading ice climbs is risky business, and having a solid lead head is a critical. Run out above your last ice screw on a WI5, mind and forearms screaming at you, the decision making process can become downright visceral. Lead climbing with Dry Ice Tools in the gym teaches a climber how to quiet the panic, bring control to your decisions, manage the pump, and arrive safely at that next stance, all in a lovely climate controlled interior with happy fixed clips.

4 - Grip Strength

Hangboard workouts are a great way to build grip and finger strength for rock climbing, but when ice climbing we really only use the handles of the tools, and those are in different positions than a hangboard provides. Training specifically for the grip of an ice tool will yield better results. The problem is, simply using your ice tools on a hangboard will also not help.  Ice tools are designed to be used with gloves. The volume of the handle is smaller to accommodate the added bulk of a glove.  Trying to use them barehanded may work, but the shape of the grip is simply not training the right muscles.

Dry Ice Tools have increased volume in the handles and are designed to be used barehanded in a gym setting so climbers can train their grip strength with the ergonomic specificity for the volume of their real ice tools.  Training the right muscles the right way yields the best results.

5 - Core Strength

This is SUPER important.

In rock climbing, our core muscles play a key role in enabling our arms and legs to maximize leverage and transfer torque from hand to foot and vice versa. The core muscles are what provide body tension when you’re trying to make a long reach or twisting body movement. In fact, every full-body climbing movement calls the core muscles into action. Developing your core will empower you to prevail through steep ice, while a weak core will leak energy and make hard moves harder.

Dry Ice Tools isolate your feet and specifically work your core, especially on vertical to overhanging terrain. Even a few laps with Dry Ice Tools on vertical terrain will have a V10 boulderer calling for tension.

6 - Footwork

Footwork is the foundation of solid climbing.  However, when rock climbing we can use our arms to leverage ourselves through certain moves, pushing and pulling our center of gravity as needed.

When ice climbing, that ability is limited.  Pulling sideways on an ice tool placement will usually result in a pick twisting out of the ice. This requires ice climbers to have excellent footwork to compensate for that loss of lateral control.  Because Dry Ice Tools isolate the lower body and bring awareness back to the feet, every climber can benefit from even a few runs on a pair of Dry Ice Tools.

7 - Safety

A sum of all the previous reasons, training with Dry Ice Tools will result in safer and ultimately more fun and enjoyable outings.  Climbing and training indoors in a gym allows us to learn good judgment without the serious consequences of bad judgment.  Building strength, honing our lead head, and having great footwork sets everyone up to safely push their limits.


You’ll look and feel amazing! Have you seen Will Mayo recently?


What’s better than climbing? More climbing.  By training for ice climbing, you’ll be able to ice climb longer, safer and have more fun.  Because at the end of the day, that’s what training with Dry Ice Tools is all about.


Field Test - RAGGED MOUNTAIN GUIDES Put the kronos on trial

Field Test - RAGGED MOUNTAIN GUIDES Put the kronos on trial

Matt Shove, AMGA Certified Rock Instructor, SPI Provider, and CWI Provider 

I have seen the KRONOS tools around for 2 or 3 winters now.  Someone always seem to have a pair at the ice fest clinics.  At first glance, I wanted a pair to hang above my fireplace.  They are just beautifully designed.  Elegant even.  I hated the idea of taking them climbing.  I wouldn’t want to ding them up or even scratch them.  However, they are T rated!

During this past winter, I was teaching a clinic at New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Valley Ice Fest called Ice Climbing for Rock Climbers.  We had done some top roping to get the excitement out of our system.  Everyone climbed a few times.  I was collecting tools to do some drills.  I like to do that so when we get to the point where we can coach climbing movement,  everyone has some context to draw from.  My colleague Karsten Delap gave me a belay.  I started up a 50 foot  WI 3+ practice flow with 4 Petzl Nomics, 2 Grivel North Machines, a pair of Quarks, and a pair of Furnace Industries Kronos.   My goal was to set up an offset ladder of staggered tools so our guests could practice working their feet with out exhausting themselves swinging.

I knew what the Nomics were going to do.  The North Machines were pretty good.  The Quarks are always too light for pure waterfall ice.   By now, from swinging tools overhead on a cold day, my hands were getting cold.  I unclipped the Kronos from my clipper, gave it a swing, and sunk it first try.  I had a similar experience with the second Kronos. I can only compare it to hitting a baseball with a Louisville Slugger.  It has a very distinct swing, but it was good and solid.  When you hit the first swing stick, it was as if David Ortiz himself hit your home run. 

I continued to use the Kronos for the remainder of the day, my hands stayed warm due to the wood shafts, and most of all, I preferred the damp vibration-less report that is too common with aluminum shaft tools.  Plus, they have something the Nomic doesn’t: a real spike for lower-angled terrain. 

Furnace Industries Co-Owner Ben Carlson loaned me a pair to use for the remainder of the winter after Rock Climb Fairfield’s Ice Fest and dry tool comp.  My clients and guests loved them, and in fact they gravitated towards these beautiful tools over the gear they used in the past.  We used them in Huntington Ravine, on the steeps at Frankenstein, at Champney Falls, Cathedral Ledge, and other local spots.  They were a hit. 


  • ·      Functional design and shape
  • ·      Thin pick for limited ice displacement (a mixed pick is available tho)
  • ·      Pick shape is optimized for ice climbing or dry tooling on rock
  • ·      Wood shaft is elegant and keeps your hands warm, hard to beat this
  • ·      Elegant appearance—a work of art
  • ·      Good, functional spike
  • ·      Shaft doesn’t flex even when full size dudes yard/stein pull hard
  • ·      Narrow grip allows smaller hands to fight the pump
  • ·      Tool does not shift when matching on the upper grip
  • ·      Fine tuned picks that wear well and are replaceable
  • ·      Strong T rated shafts, strong enough for use as a deadman anchor in snow

Bottom Line:  If you prefer an elegant and functional piece of kit, this tool is for you.

Matt Shove

AMGA Certified Rock Instructor

AMGA SPI Provider and CWI Provider

NY State Guide Lic# 4218

(203) 228-2311  HQ

Photos Courtesy Ragged Mountain Guides

Hera Climb4Life and Furnace Industries

Hera Climb4Life and Furnace Industries

Being a small gear company means we possess the unique opportunity to inspire, interact, and invite climbers to help support worthy causes.  The HERA Climb4Life project seeks to fund raise to eliminate ovarian cancer by hosting climbing events in important locations.

Then And Now: How Ice Climbing Tools Came Full Circle

Ice tools are funny things.  In the beginning they were wood, then they were steel, then aluminum, carbon fiber, and now... back to wood.

Tools have personality, and after even a few seasons, all of them have a story to tell. Tools wear in and become chipped and worn, nicked and scraped, each mark a record of a moment in the climber's life. Tools are swung into the ice or hooked on the rock and act not only as an extension of one's physical self, but also the emotional self.  We 'feel' our climb through our ice tools.

Finding the right tools can result in a magnificent marriage between gear and climber, best friends who add up to more than the sum of their parts. For some, they are easily their most cherished piece of climbing equipment.

In his article Against the Grain, Switzerland-based adventurer and writer Bruno Schull compares the Bhend Ice Ax to the Furnace Industries KRONOS.  Schull reveals some startling reasons why climbers chose wood then, and why they will choose wood now and into climbing's future.

Click Here to Read Against the Grain

6 Awesome Things That Happened During the 2016 Ice Season

2015-16 was a spectacular ice climbing season that saw boundaries pushed, new ground explored, and even the invention of a new ice ax.  For some, the ice season is still going on!  Below are 6 Awesome Things that happened this ice season, and 5 more bonus headlines!

1 Big New Routes on Newfie Ice

The secret is out:  Newfoundland is the new home for serious Canadian winter climbing.  It’s big, windy, and nose-numbingly cold.  You'll probably need a snowmoblie, and it's chock full of unexplored territory.

Will Mayo hasn’t let anything stop him from pioneering some notable routes, most recently The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (WI7+, Trad (!) M12 with and Ben Collett and Chelsea Rude. Read Will's 3 part blog about the route and the gigantic ice that falls off it here.

2 Interstellar Spice WI 12 at Helmcken Falls

Tim Emmett and Klemen Preml, both users of DRY ICE Tools, established an outrageous bolted spray ice line at Helmcken Falls.  The climb is a 260 foot single pitch of spray ice climbing they called Interstellar Spice and rated by Emmett and Preml WI 12.  Yes, 12! 

In a single pitch, Interstellar Spice covers similar ground as the first four pitches of its neighbor Spray On to the right, a route put up by Emmett and Will Gadd in 2011.

“[It’s] possibly the ultimate winter climbing experience,” says Emmett.

3 Marianne Van Der Steen’s Accidental send of M13+ Dutch climber (and also a DRY ICE Tools user) Marianne van der Steen “accidentally” flashed one of Italy’s most difficult dry-tooling routes, Kamasutra (D13+), at Bus del Quai, Iseo, likely the hardest dry-tooling flash ever made. And then she sent it again the next day.

After warming up and attempting a nearby M12, she says she didn’t feel great and went to cheer on Gordon McArthur as he attempted Kamasutra. McArthur fell near the top of the route and his ice tool, stuck in a crack, was left dangling.

“The only reason I went up there was because Gord got his axe stuck. I thought it would be way too much for me to climb it.  Maybe that was just the thing I actually needed. Going up without any expectations.”

4 The KRONOS Release

On Nov 15 2015, Furnace Industries released the KRONOS, the world's first 'T' rated, CE certified technical ice climbing tool made from wood.

It’s gorgeous, climbs amazingly, and offers features no other tool can offer. This is a big deal. Why? No other wood ice tool in history has achieved the technical ice tool 'T' rating, and the benefits of using wood are huge. Read more about the KRONOS here.

5 Lucie Hrozová Establishes Hardest Mixed Climb in U.S.

On January 31, visiting Czech climber Lucie Hrozová claimed the first ascent of what now may be the hardest mixed climb in the United States—on her third attempt.

She named the route Saphira, after a mythical dragon, and suggested M15- for the grade.  Oh, and she also won the 2016 Ouray Ice Comp for Women. Now that is a productive visit!

6 Tom Ballard Establishes World’s Hardest Dry Tooling Route

A Line Above the Sky

is Tom Ballard’s newest and most difficult dry tooling route in the Dolomites. If his D15 grade is confirmed by future ascensionists, it will be the most difficult dry tooling route climbed yet. Ballard told UKC, "With 45+ meters of burly, shoulder-straining moves, and more than 25 clips, this route weighs in, I think, at a hefty D15.”

Also of Note:

World’s largest indoor ice climbing centre reopens after fire

On July 29 2015, more than 200 people were evacuated from Ice Factor Kinlochleven, south of Fort William, when the accidental fire broke out in the sauna area of the 120-year-old building.

Owner Jamie Smith said: “It has taken eight months and, after a huge team effort, I’m really proud to be able to reopen an even bigger and better Ice Factor Kinlochleven.”

He pointed out that the centre incorporated 16,750 square yards of ice and rock climbing space and said they had taken the opportunity to treble the size of the bouldering area in the indoor rock climbing section.

The Michigan Ice Film

The Michigan Ice Film was released unveiling to the world the enormous amount of ice to be climbed in the Midwest! 

This is a story of place, a scrappy corner of Midwestern flyover land that happens to be home to one of North America’s largest concentrations of climbable ice. The film weaves the stories of the region’s original climbing pioneers with tales from some of climbing’s more well known athletes with a connection to Michigan.

The film also features the increasingly popular Michigan Ice Fest. The festival, one of the oldest climbing festivals in North America, brought around 750 climbers to tiny Munising this past February for five days of learning, presentations, giveaways and zany hijinks.

Nanga Parbat was climbed for the first time in Winter

On February 26, Italian Simone Moro, Pakistani Muhammad Ali Sadpara, and Spaniard Alex Txikon reached the summit of Nanga Parbat, the thirteenth 8000-meter peak to get a winter ascent. The successful climb leaves K2 as the only 8000-meter peak that has not been climbed in winter. Can you say 'last great problem'?

A NEW Route for mortals seeking adventure in the Daks

Although DEEP in the backcountry, Adirondack climbers eager for adventure need look no further than Panther Gorge.  Kevin MacKenzie, Bill Schneider & Devin Farkas did just that on Jan 30 when they nabbed the FA of an unclimbed 250’ line they called By Tooth and Claw WI4.

Penstock Burst During Ouray Ice Comp

Maybe not so awesome, but cetainly notable. During the annual Ouray Ice Festival at the Ouray Ice Park in Colorado, the three-foot diameter water penstock above Uncompahgre Gorge burst. No one was climbing directly below at the time but there were several climbers off to the side. Climbers had to evacuate the lower gorge in certain sections due to rapidly rising water. No one was injured and the mixed climbing competition, not far below the burst, continued.

3 Ice-tacular Reasons why you Need to Stop by the Furnace Industries Booth at the 2016 Ouray Ice Festival

It’s that time!  The Ouray Ice Festival, the biggest, baddest, most amazing ice festival on planet earth happens this weekend and Furnace Industries is proud to return as a sponsor.  This time we have the tool that has everyone in the ice universe talking, a great prize for our annual pull-up contest, and a flagship product that has completely changed the game.

If simply being in beautiful Ouray, Colorado wasn’t awesome enough, here are 3 reasons to swing by the Furance Industries booth:

1. We invented a new ice axe!

The KRONOS is the world’s first ’T’ rated CE Certified ice tool MADE OF WOOD.

 It’s gorgeous, climbs amazingly, offers features no other tool can offer, and YES, we will have them available to demo. This is a big deal. Why? No other wood ice tool in history has achieved the 'T' rating. The KRONOS is the first. Don’t know what a ’T’ rating is? You should, our lives depend on it.

2. The Annual DRY ICE Tools Pull-up Contest!

 It's open to any man/woman/child/bighorn sheep/space alien. The winner will be whoever knocks out the most pull-ups. The contest is cumulative, starts on Friday at 8 a.m. and finishes on Saturday at 4 p.m.  Climbers can pop in, crank out 10, head out climbing, swing back, crank out 10 more, go have a beer, crank out 10 more... Last year, our comp brought out some big guns at Ouray. Tobias Smith won with 289 pullups! Tobias won a signed copy of Steve House’s Training for the New Alpinism.  This year the prize is the top-of-the-line Maxim Rope , the 9.5 x 60m 2X Dry Bi-Pattern Pinnacle Yellow Jacket. That's a $369 prize folks. Get excited for this pull-up THROWDOWN!

3. DRY ICE Tools.

Our original product has blown up in the past year in large part to a fan base that understands that training in the off-season, even a small amount, leads to big results in strength, muscle memory, and confidence.  They also appreciate well-crafted, excellently-designed products.  Many climbing gyms now own their own DRY ICE Tools as well as our ICICLES and offer clinics to members on ice climbing movement.

Do not miss this!  Get down to Ouray and check us out.  We also have some other new surprises, freebie pick protectors, and our usual pithy and humorous sticker selection to decorate your helmet/car/water bottle/wind deflector/friend's forehead when they're sleeping...

What the Heck is a 'T' Rating?

Moneting: (pron; mohnay-eng) Noun, Slang. Def: Being so close to something to see details but too close to see the whole picture.

At Furnace Industries, we are guilty of Moneting.  We knew that passing the 'T' test with a wood shafted ice tool was a huge deal. But we did not know that, surprisingly, most climbers have no idea what the 'T' on their tools even means.

In the few weeks since we released the KRONOS, we've received overwhelming media inquires, requests for hi-res images for blogs, price point comments, a venture capitalist inquiry, a Norwegian in-flight magazine profile, and loads of questions about what a 'T' rating is. Elsewhere on the interwebs, we've actually been called 'hipsters' (if you met us, the last thing you'd call us is 'hipster') for allegedly not having the good sense to know that wood ice tools were the norm when Chouinard sold bamboo tools. However, none of good ol' Yvon's tools, or any tool made of wood from back then or since has passed the 'T' rating.

The KRONOS is not the first tool made of wood. It is the World's First 'T' Rated Ice Tool Made of Wood.

It's a big deal. The testing involved in a 'T' test would blow most wood tools to bits. But FI Co-Owner George Fisher figured it out, and it's genius.  So what does the 'T' on our ice tools mean? It's something every ice and especially mixed climber should know as our lives depend on it!

The 'T' Rating

The T rating has to do with the CE Safety Certification that all ice tools must pass if a company wants to offer an ice tool for sale. CE certification helps you choose the correct ice axe. CE (Comité Européen de Normalisation) is a European group that develops and maintains equipment standards. On an ice axe, look for a circular CE stamp that will have either a capital B or T in it.

-General mountaineering axes are designated with a B (basic) stamp. These are generally lighter, less expensive and less durable. Basic axes are NOT strong enough for technical climbing!

-Technical ice axes and ice/mixed climbing tools are designated with a T (technical) stamp. These are generally heavier, more expensive and more durable.

On technical ice tools, picks and shafts are rated separately. It is actually quite common to have a CE-T shaft with a CE-B pick. A CE-B pick is thinner, penetrating pure ice better; a CE-T pick is thicker and stiffer and works better for mixed climbing. The KRONOS comes with a B rated pick. A T rated pick more suitable for mixed climbing is available.

Diving Deeper into the 'T' rating

If you want to really nerd out, keep reading...

Tools that receive a 'T' rating have to pass 4 physical tests: .9 Kn pull at 90° to the shaft of the tool, 3.5 Kn pull at 90° on the center of the shaft, 4 Kn pull at 90° on the head of the tool, and a 182 N Pick Deflection Test.

Note that for one of these tests, the load is almost 900 lbs. (4 Kn is 899 lbs)

This diagram should help:

So that's the easy part, and also the part where most ice tools' lives end.

Next, the company (Furnace Industries LLC) must provide all the technical information the CE lab (SGS UK) requires to certify the tool (KRONOS) conforms with the harmonized standard EN13089 for Category 3 Personal Protective Equipment. This involves extremely thorough document called the Tech File which details our materials and methods used in producing the actual tool, our quality management system, and description of our system of production and testing that guarantees the consistency of the tools produced. 

There is a Factory Inspection. A representative from the lab physically inspects the FI shop to make sure our methods for producing the KRONOS ensure consistency for each tool we produce.

There is rigorous vetting of the Tech File. The lab requires FI to write up the technical details about the KRONOS.  The lab inspects this document and makes sure that the file contains all the technical information it's supposed to.  Included as part of the the tech file are the instructions included with the tool when it's sold.  The instructions must have all the appropriate safety information, notes on care and storage, and definitions of the required marks that are on the tool (company name, model name, batch labeling definition, the 'T'...)

After all that testing is done, inspections performed, and tech file errors fixed, all fees paid, the lab issues a CE Certificate that certifies the KRONOS passed the 'T' test. We framed ours.

So, that's what a 'T' rating is.  If you've read this far, it's because you're super smart, you understand that climbing really is in fact dangerous, and you want (like all climbers should) to know as much as possible about the gear you're trusting with your life.

-Ben Carlson, FI Co-Owner

Dogs Days of Winter

It's 15 December and it's 63° F (17° C).

If you live in the Northeast of the USA, you fall into one of two categories:

Cat 1: You are amped because you're rock climbing season never ended.

Cat 2: You are the opposite of amped because you have your ice gear all packed and there is simply no ice.

At FI we fall squarely into Cat 2, the main reason being we've just launched our new KRONOS and we want to get them into climber's hands.  Turns out, northeastern climbers can't try your amazing ice tool if there's no ice to climb. Everywhere else on Earth, the conditions are perfect.

So East Coasters, to while away this 'July at Christmas' phenomenon, (remember kids, climate change isn't real) we thought we'd point out 6 awesome things you can do until the mercury finally drops below 32° (it will I promise). There's even a bonus activity at the end of the post.

1. Watch some awesome movies about ice climbing.  This one by Tim Kemple comes highly reccommended.  It features DRY ICE Tool user Klemen Premrl and Rahel Schleb exploring wild ice in Iceland.

Also very worthy is Metanoia. An excellent, excellent film.

2. Read about sweet ice.  There is no shortage of mental adventure awaiting the curious reader.  We recently read Andy Kirkpatrick's Psychovertical and we're about to launch into his Cold Wars after meeting him in person and we have since been obsessed with the Frendo Spur.

Also highly worth anyone's time is The Tower by Kelly Cordes and Beyond the Mountain by Steve House. Both are great reads.

3. Travel to the ice! There's no rule that says you have to wait around in your home stomping gorunds for conditions to come in.  Heck, if you live in NYC, it's 5hrs to the Daks, where conditions are still meager, but that's about the same amount of time to FLY to Canmore AB, where the biggest, longest, raddest, and baddest ice routes in North America live. Some of them climbable year round. BOOM!

Dancing With Chaos WI6

4. Build that ridiculous home Dry Tooling wall you've been planning to build.  Now you can train like the pros, you just need to turn your backyard into a tower of pain that will likely get you uninvited from the neighorhood association's annual picnic. Still tho, there's a certain charm to being able to crush out some laps while little Bobby takes a nap.

5. Finally get around to having your ice screws sharpened.  Ice climbing is becoming large enough that there are now Ice Screw Sharpening services.  Two of note are: A Nice Screw, and (check out their Super Stubby option, yikes!) It's not easy to bring your screws back into tip-top, laser-fast-placement shape, and these guys will wave a magic wand (aka 3D CNC cutter) to breathe some new life into your rack. In fact, they can make the sharper even than when they were new!   

6. Dry Tool. Not DRY ICE Tool in the gym, but head out to some slag heap and pick you way up something.  Dry Tooling is serious business in Europe, why not in America?  Perhaps all this warmth will finally kick the ass of American climbers to get out and dry tool. Just don't head straight out to the most classic rock route with your sharpies.

Bonus: (Warning: Shameless Plug Ahead) Head to the gym and crank through some fig 4's and 9's on your DRY ICE Tools. Might as well use the time you were going to be ice climbing to get rock hard in the gym, right?. Most gyms set routes specifically for the tools, and if they don't ask them to set a couple. Don't have a pair? Well you can get some now! They're cheaper than a pair of rock shoes!