Ever wanted to feel the ice beneath your boots, pick in hand, and adrenaline pumping as you scale through stunning ice packed terrain? Or perhaps you’re a pro and looking for new challenging routes? Whether amateur or veteran, there are countless opportunities to explore fantastic ice climbing regions throughout the U.S. — Some may even be in your own backyard! It's time to Ice Climb!

U.S. Ice Climbing : 8 Places to Shred Some Serious Gnar

1. Ouray Ice Park - Ouray, Colorado

Season: Mid-December through mid-March (Weather dependent)

Located in the Uncompahgre Gorge, just a few minutes walk from the City of Ouray, Colorado, this manmade ice mecca is one of the world’s premiere ice climbing destinations. But wait, it’s manmade?! That’s right! Ice farmers water down the canyon walls each November to create the various icy shoots. They maintain the routes throughout the season with 150 sprinklers showering the walls to ensure perfect winter conditions. With over 200 routes, 14 climbing areas, and three miles of vertical terrain, this park truly offers something for every ice climbing enthusiast. And best of all, it’s FREE!

The 20th annual Ice Climbing Festival will kick off January 14-17, 2016, packed with gear expos, clinics, parties, and of course, a whole lot of climbing!

2. Valdez Ice Climbing - Valdez, Alaska

Season: December through March (Weather dependent)

Traditionally acclaimed for its heli-skiing and impressive snowfall accumulation, beginning in 1970, Keystone Canyon became an ice climbers haven and is often referred to as "the best ice climbing place in America". Known for its massive, multi-pitch blue cave, climbers enjoy testing their skills on the icy canyon walls each winter season. Bridal Veil Falls and Keystone Greensteps are popular routes among locals and visitors alike, offering challenging routes and countless options for honing in on your climbing skills. New routes are constantly being created, while the classics are sure to keep you entertained as well. If you’re in the area, be sure to check out Mineral Creek, Solomon Gulch, Hole in the Wall Canyon, Bear Creek and Sheep Creek.

3. Mount Washington Valley - Mount Washington Valley, New Hampshire

Season: December through March (Weather dependent)

Mt. Washington Valley is one of the most popular waterfall ice climbing locations in North America. Offering a mixture of snow, ice, and rock, these routes range from extremely technical to novice. Frankenstein Cliff is the most famous, and also most user-friendly, showcasing a wide range of ice and alpine climbs along the road making it easily accessible. Popular ice climbs at Frankenstein include Standard Route, Pegasus, Dracula, and Chia. For the past 23 years, ice climbing enthusiasts have traveled to Mt. Washington Valley for the annual Ice Festival, where they climb, check out the latest gear, learn about new techniques, and perhaps find a new climbing partner. Mark your calendars for February 5-7, 2016.

4. Yosemite National Park - Yosemite, California

Season: Mid-December through March (Weather dependent)

Yosemite National Park is a world-famous destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking for that perfect adventure. Most tourists explore during the summer months for the breathtaking views of Half Dome and the endless hiking options. However, for those hoping for more cold-weather adrenaline, the ice climbing routes have met their match. The Pot Belly route is a good place for climbers of all abilities - the vegetation along the icy wall allows for frequent breaks, while also giving the more advanced climbers a fun climb with stunning valley views. One piece of advice: Be patient. The ice walls in Yosemite are known for their inconsistencies, and climbers should not rush to start a climb, but inspect the route and practice proper safety precautions.

5. Hyalite Canyon - Bozeman, Montana

Season: December through March (Weather dependent)

Hyalite Canyon has a reputation in the ice climbing world of being the “most reliable and concentrated natural ice arena in America.” With 225 ice and mixed routes established, it’s no wonder this area is high on the bucket lists of most ice climbing enthusiasts. In 2007, the Forest Service began plowing the road allowing easier access to these sought after routes. Today, climbers are still exploring untouched terrain though the three drainages that create Hyalite. Thankfully, the canyon does offer easier routes as well so you can get warmed up before conquering the classic ridge lines.

Iconic routes include The Matriarch, Winter Dance, Genesis, Mummy Cooler, and Cleopatra’s Needle.

6. Eastern Sierra - Eastern Sierra Mountains, California

Season: December through March (Weather dependent)

The Eastern Sierra mountain range has been attracting adventure seekers for years. As ice climbing becomes more popular, locals and visitors have spent more time finding the hidden gems in these stunning California mountains. From the challenging routes in the Owens River Gorge to the infamous walls of Mt. Whitney, these climbs are sure to test even the most skilled ice trekkers. New to the sport? There are dozens of beginner hikes to ease you in as well.

Located a few miles north of the popular California ski resort, Mammoth Mountain, June Lake is an ideal location for beginners to learn the sport and practice the skills before moving on to the larger, more technical climbs. With the beginner routes starting at a ropes length in height and up to eighty degrees in steepness, this is the optimal location to perfect your form. Not a novice? Don’t fret. There are steeper routes and more technical climbs for the advanced athletes in this area as well. Also, be sure not to miss the excellent climbing in Lee Vining!

7. South Fork Valley - Cody, Wyoming

Season: December through March (Weather dependent)

Interested in multi-pitch ice climbing? The Shoshone National Forest has you covered! After you fine-tune your skills in Ouray, take the next step in your ice climbing progression and venture to South Fork where you’ll continue to integrate additional techniques into your climbs. South Fork also has routes for beginners and training courses to prepare you to tackle more advanced routes throughout North America. With over 300 frozen waterfalls to choose from, the only problem will be deciding which to tackle first. The 18th annual Cody Ice Climbing Festival takes place February 12-15, 2016.

Popular routes: Smoked Turkey, The Gambler, Cabin Fever, Mean Green, Moonrise, Broken Hearts, and many more!

8. The Adirondacks - Keene, New York

Season: Mid-December through mid-March / Peak: February through early March

The Adirondacks High Peaks region contains hundreds of ice-covered treasures. One fun feature of this area is the never-ending roadside climb options, making reaching these routes extremely easy. The Adirondacks are the perfect location for beginners to learn the craft and for veterans to practice new skills. Popular climbing locations within the Adirondack Park also include Chapel Pond and Cascade Lakes.

This article was written by Deena Betcher.

Image by Jared Erondu.