The Ice Hammock

Tuesday 5 December 2017, 12:01pm -- Anonymous (not verified)


The ice hammock in use on an ascent of the North Face of Cholatse, Nepal

Matthew Scholes

The ice hammock is a relatively new invention and although it's a great idea and works well, it's unlikely that any outdoor company is going to start making them commercially anytime soon, so we thought its worth writing an article for anyone who has an interest in making and using them for alpine climbing.

The idea is that it saves a lot of time chopping ledges and allows you to recycle the ice/snow that you are chopping away to make your tent platform. Generally you will need to be able to cut a ledge wide enough for one person to get enough snow and ice to fill the hammock and make the platform wide enough for two. The snow/ice is literally loaded in and then leveled off to create the extended platform.

The hammock we had made was 2.4m long and 1m wide and weighs about 350g. We had 1/2 inch flat webbing stitched into folds along the length of the hammock for the load to be dispersed throughout the hammock . Tails of the webbing can just be tied off as needed. A lighter one could be made but we were worried about the potential of the material just bursting open the second you filled it.


Close up of the stitching on the ice hammock

Matthew Scholes

The setup is fairly simple, make an anchor at each end about 1m longer than each end of the hammock and fix off the two inside straps. Next fill the hammock with a little snow and with your best guess tie off the two outside straps with a release-able hitch. (half hitch on the bite and two half hitches) This allows you to release the ledge in the morning and get your hammock back quickly. Now fill the hammock with snow ,fill it evenly along the length otherwise it will just fall into the middle and you'll end up with a round platform.

Recently we found the ice hammock to be very effective on an ascent of the north face of Cholatse (6440m) Nepal.

icehammock steve 2.jpg

Steven Fortune ready to go on the second day of an ascent of Cholatse North Face, Nepal after a relatively comfortable nights sleep thanks to the ice hammock bivouac ledge

Matthew Scholes