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Game of Thrones Ice Climbing Scene

In 2013, a Game of Thrones episode named The Climb featured the show’s characters ice climbing a man-made wall.

At one point in the episode, Jon Snow and the Wildlings climbed the Wall, a 220-metre barrier that separates the continent. The Wildlings climbed in groups of four and narrowly escaped a number of near-death moments.

He has the same wild look in his eyes as an ice climber who refuses to wear a helmet and use his original ice gear and fur coat.

Based in 1500s, the level of climbing is advanced for the time. The Wall presented, from what we can tell, a grade-six ice climb, which wasn’t really climbed until after the invention of front-pointed crampons sometime in the 1900s. Fortunately, the producers went ahead and retro-fitted some Black Diamond Sabertooths to look the part and instead of ice screws, the climbers bashed in small hooks.

The Wildlings utilized their simul-climbing techniques for the entire wall. To simul-climb a 220-metre WI6 is rare by today’s standards, but luckily they had MacInnes Terrordactyl-style ice axes with leashed wooden handles and bent picks. Of course, we all know the best ice tool during the 1500s was a Sheppard’s alpenstock.

Staying true to the sport, we do get the, “You staring at me ass,” halfway through the climb.

At one point Jon Snow takes a whipper bringing up the tail, but against all odds no one is pulled off and the rope remains slack. Probably a good thing as the hemp didn’t have a lot of stretch.

Somewhere along the way, the lead climber takes a swing that sends a horizontal fracture ripping across the wall. The crack results in a massive ice fall event. It looks more like something that would happen on a very compact iceberg rather than a waterfall ice route. However, glaciers hold a lot of pressure and if you’ve ever ice climbed a steep one then you know what it’s like. Seracs collapse on the regular, but few people have ever climbed ancient ice on man made walls that separate continents, so who knows how the ice would react to ice tools.

This is what a guide a group of clients look like while short-roping on a moderate ridge. Please don't try this on your local WI6 ancient ice wall.
This is what a guide a group of clients look like while short-roping on a moderate ridge. Please don’t try this on your local WI6 ancient ice wall.

Like all good Hollywood climbing scenes there is a tense moment where someone uses a knife to cut a rope. Remember Vertical Limit with its technical inaccuracies, well it’s like that.

The best thing to do is forget about facts, physics, history or human abilities and enjoy the brilliance that is the Game of Thrones: The Climb.

Watch The Climb’s climbing scene on YouTube here and decide for yourself.