__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 10

anchor his feet and put in his ice axe. He’d do it again The basics: because he liked the Barnard challenge. “I think demonstrates that’s what I really like the proper about climbing, you technique for a foothold in the can exceed your limits. ice. Maybe you would feel uncomfortable at such a height normally, but since you’re belayed, everything is fine. It’s just an amazing feeling to make this progress step by step up.” Barnard lives for moments like this. “Some people are just absolutely terrified of heights,” he said. He said once people realize that “I’m attached to this rope, I’m attached to this anchor above me, the person below me is experienced at belaying, I’m really not going to get hurt,” and climbing becomes an opportunity for personal growth that forces you to step outside of your comfort zone. Seeing the reaction of a first time climber is the most rewarding part for him. “You can see that look they have when they come back down, when half way up they had wanted to quit,” he said. Climbing in the Winona area goes back to the 1940s Winona Alpine Club. Then came resurgence in climbing in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Barnard has seen a steady increase in the popularity of the sport since he moved to Winona from Idaho nine years ago, which prompted him to open Big River Climbing Guides in the fall of 2017, and the city to hire a full-time parks and recreation manager. He credits the city of Winona with much of this progress and says when the local climbing group approached the administration with plans of turning the former Sugarloaf quarry into a rock

climbing area “They were all in.” After establishing hiking trails and cleaning up the area, the now well-used trails bring in a constant stream of hikers and families. “Climbing has opened up access to that park to everyone,” and as a result, Barnard says, littering and vandalism have gone down, erosion is under control and prairie restorations are underway. “Outdoor recreation can be conservation,” he said. Locals love that everything outdoors in Winona is so close to town, but they’re not the only ones. Since Barnard opened shop he says he’s served about 100 climbers from inside of Minnesota and surrounding states. This is music to Cynthya Porter’s ears. She’s the Marketing Specialist at Visit Winona, the area’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “The ice park is an amazing attraction for Winona. Even though it has only been open for one season, people came from across the Midwest to climb there. It really puts Winona on the map in the winter time for outdoor recreation,” she said. Because of this surge in popularity, climbing demand at the Winona ice park is quickly outgrowing the limited space, which took even Barnard by surprise. This year the ice park will move from Bluffside Park to an old quarry adjacent to the Sugarloaf. “The current location is too small,” said Barnard. “I had no idea that ice climbing was Nourreddine Echarfi from going to be Morocco that popular.” at his first attempt.

“It’s all about the legs”: Barnard gives a brief introduction to ice climbing. 10 Winter 2018-2019

Minnesota Trails

Profile for Minnesota Trails Magazine

Minnesota Trails Winter 2018/19  

Our comprehensive guide to winter adventures in Minnesota. Ski trails, fat bike events and features about ice climbing and winter camping. D...

Minnesota Trails Winter 2018/19  

Our comprehensive guide to winter adventures in Minnesota. Ski trails, fat bike events and features about ice climbing and winter camping. D...