While DRY ICE Tools were designed to be used on most climbing holds, training benefits increase when specific routes are set for DRY ICE.

Setting DRY ICE routes simply requires attention to how the tools are used.  Route Setters should use the tools so that they can gain a kinesthetic knowledge of DRY ICE.  Below are some helpful guidelines, pointers, and some anecdotal tips for setting satisfying routes for DRY ICE Tools.

Check out the line of DRY ICE Holds by Atomik to see shapes that work well with DRY ICE tools. Also check out e-Grips line of DRY ICE Tools compatible holds, Nicros, and Rock Candy.

General Notes:

A real ice tool pick will blow off of marginal placements if the direction of pull is not consistent.  Careful focus and concentration to maintain the placement is necessary to stay on.

This focus is what makes ice and mixed climbing interesting.

-Holds used with DRY ICE Tools must have some positivity.  Incuts, Jugs, Finger Buckets, and Horns all work very well.

-For advanced routes, holds can be set such that the tools must be used in an undercling or sidepull fashion.

-Sidepulling, Gastoning, and Laybacks are super fun with DRY ICE tools.  These moves force climbers to pay special attention to their body positioning, body tension, and footwork.

-Even the smallest nubbin can be used with DRY ICE Tools, so long as there is some positivity on the edge of the nubbin.

-Slopers can in fact be used with DRY ICE Tools.  The strap must be able to fit over the hold, and the rubber will 'grip' the Sloper, creating situations that simulate marginal dry tool placements in the outdoors.  Care must be taken by the climber to make sure that pressure is applied in consistent direction so the tool placement doesn't blow, exactly as in outdoor mixed ice and rock climbing.

Level 1 Movement

-When starting DRY ICE Route setting, the distance between holds should not be more than the length of the tools.  This is because when climbers lock off, they can only reach that far.

-Pay special attention to the footwork.  Just like bouldering, you can set marginal feet which will put the focus on the tools.

Level 2 Movement

-Steep routes (anything more than vertical) will be VERY hard with the tools.  This makes for a spectacular workout and prepares climbers for outdoor climbing.

-It’s easy to slide into simply setting the holds so the tools are used vertically.  But be creative look for creative side pulling moments.  Imagine an increase of 42” to your ape index.

Level 3 Movement

-Remember your reach is now 21” longer on each arm, so getting your feet on the wall above you is very difficult.

-There is a LOT of being upside down, and it looks like this:

-Figure 4’s and Figure 9’s are extremely challenging but successful in extending the climber’s reach through very steep or overhanging sections.

-Setting transitions from fig 4 to 9 is the most important thing here.

Last Thoughts

-Be creative.  There is no limit to how nutty these routes can be.  There are no rules in ice or mixed climbing.

-Be Safe.  Setting routes with placements that are too marginal may compromise the safety and enjoyment of a route. For example, a clipping hold should be a decent hold.  Also, mind the transitions from hold to hold.  If a climber is unable to maintain the direction of pull needed to keep the tool on the hold, the tool may ‘pop’ and may potentially hit the climber in the face.  This is not common, but setters should be mindful to prevent gratuitous falls. 

For more information or if you have any questions, contact Ben Carlson: 917.584.1536 or