Climbers hanging by an axe

Adam Taylor/ Sun Star Reporter
March 5, 2013

UAF graduate student Colin Rowell was sticking between the lines on this tricky section of the ice wall at the UAF Ice Jam held on Friday, March 01, 2013. Adam Taylor/Sun Star

UAF graduate student Colin Rowell was sticking between the lines on this tricky section of the ice wall at the UAF Ice Jam held on Friday, March 01, 2013. Adam Taylor/Sun Star

Decked out with ice axes, crampons and helmets, climbers tackled the UAF outdoor ice wall on Friday, March 1. UAF Ice Jam, the ice climbing competition, was a part this year’s Winter Carnival.

Winter Carnival started in Fairbanks in 1927 when students constructed a toboggan slide to embrace Fairbanks’ winters.

The ice climbing competition began at 6 p.m. with Outdoor Facilities Manager Sam Braband giving directions to climbers for the competition. Climbers had to complete three timed routes in the competition. The climber with the fastest combined time won. Climbers were allowed to complete multiple runs on the wall but there was a two hour time limit.

Shortly after 6 p.m., the climbers were staged in the painted boxes awaiting the go-ahead from the time keeper. Each climber attacked the wall with ferocity and 33-year-old Pete Dronkers, a graduate from the University of Nevada Reno, won the competition with a time of 46 seconds. Pat Terhune took second place and Ryan Cudo won third with times of 58 seconds and 63 seconds respectively.

Dronkers said he was prepared for the competition because he has been climbing for 15 years.

This was the first ice climbing competition at UAF and was considered a success and small victory for UAF outdoor enthusiasts. Braband hopes this event will continue to be a part of Winter Carnival in the future.

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