MIDWAY — Utah has some of the premier ice climbing venues in the country.
In Wasatch County, one man has created an ice tower to help people experience the thrill of the sport in a more controlled environment.
"It's a 45-foot ice climbing tower," explained Drew Jenkins, founder of Midway Adventure Company. "We calculated it's about 200,000 pounds of ice when it's built."
The man-made tower of ice is located at 8 E. Main Street in Midway. Nearly 7 feet thick in some places, the ice captures the beauty of Mother Nature as it sits and waits to be conquered by climbers.
"It's kind of a unique sport; and if you like winter sports and climbing, mixing the two, it makes a really cool experience," Jenkins said.
Jenkins is an experienced climber and knows there are inherent risks to the sport he loves. Last week, 32-year-old Meghan Arnold of Park City fell nearly 40 feet while ice climbing at Bridal Veil Falls. She died from her injuries Monday.
"I've had friends, or friends of friends, that have had injuries or other accidents," Jenkins said.
In fact, that's precisely why he created the climbing wall — so climbers can experience the thrill of the sport without the obvious dangers.
Climb the Midway ice tower
Location: 800 S. Main Street, Midway, UT
Prices: $12 for one climb (equipment included); $45 for all-day pass (equipment included); $35 for all-day pass (if bringing own equipment).
Contact Midway Adventure Company at 435-657-2008 to schedule a climb.
"This ice isn't tied to having avalanches coming down from 1,000 feet above, or other aspects that can bring a lot of dangers to ice climbing," he said.
Ice climber John Powers, was at the ice tower Tuesday, anxious to conquer it for a third time. He's an avid rock climber but a beginner when it comes to ice climbing.
"(I love) the thrill of being able to climb something that Mother Nature made," he said.
The ice wall gives him chance to test his skills, and that's what drew him to it.
"There's a little more skill to it than just normal rock climbing," Powers said. "You have a lot more muscle that you're using to hold onto your ice axes, and actually climbing the wall itself."
Jenkins said the tower should be fully climbable by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
Ticket prices range from $12 to $45, depending on how long you want to climb and whether you're bringing your own equipment. Visit www.midwayadventure.com/ice-climbing for more information.