Grade levels: 7-10

Lesson Objective: The Learner Will Be Able To:

  1. Create a workable solution to the problem of traction on ice.
  2. Become familiar with some of the tools and equipment used in climbing
  3. Identify the needs of climbers in order to understand the process of improving equipment over time.


  • Computers with internet access.
  • Copies of worksheet (below)

Lesson Process:

1.The lesson begins with a homework assignment. Pose the problem:

Climbers often face sheets of sheer ice which they need to climb. They need a tool or item of clothing which they can use to safely climb the ice. The students must design such a tool for homework and present it to the class the next day. Stress that this does not have to be a real tool - this is intended to be a product of their imagination. They may use reference materials to learn about ice, or to get ideas, but their invention must be unique. They should also draw it and present a picture or a real example.

The next day, share the examples and have each student present their
ideas. They must report on:

A. What it is - a full description.
B. Why it will help climbers on ice.
C. How they came up with the idea.

2. Go to the website and navigate to the Evolution of Climbing Equipment section. Hand out the worksheets and have students complete them.

The Evolution of Climbing Equipment

Use the website section “The Evolution of Climbing Equipment” to complete this worksheet:

A. Tents
Draw a picture of a climbing tent. Beside and below the picture, describe how the tent has evolved since the Duke of Abruzzi’s day. Use as much detail as possible:

B. Sleeping Gear

Draw a modern sleeping bag. Beneath it, describe the evolution of sleeping gear for climbers since the Duke of Abruzzi’s climb.

C. Stoves

Draw a modern stove which could be used on a climb. Below, describe the evolution of stoves since the Duke of Abruzzi’s climb.

D. Clothing

Describe the evolution in clothing for climbers since the Duke of Abruzzi’s day.

E. Footwear

Draw climbing footwear. Beside and beneath, describe the evolution of climbing footwear according to the website.

F. Snow Glare and Wind Protection

Describe what has been developed to help climbers avoid some of the dangers of snow glare and wind.

G. Snowshoes and Skis

Draw a pair of snowshoes. Describe how climbers have used snowshoes and skis in climbs, and how these items have changed over time:

H. Crampons

Draw a set of crampons, and describe what they are used for and how they have evolved over the years:

I. Ropes

Describe how climbing ropes have changed over the years, what they are made of, and why they are so important:

J. Aircraft

How has the use of various aircraft changed the accessibility of climbing as a popular sport?