The bad news is ice-climbing season has been canceled this year.

The good news is that there isn’t any ice.

That’s my dilemma this winter.

I hate the cold. I can’t stand shoveling walks, scraping frost from windshields and blowing money to feed the furnace. I hate driving in snowstorms. I get cabin fever and get sick of sitting around the house for months until spring.

That being said, I was really looking forward to grabbing a couple of axes, strapping on some crampons and attacking the man-made frozen waterfall at the local silo climbing center this weekend. I eagerly awaited standing on the windswept field and scrambling up a four-story icicle, flailing away with iron picks and feeling the sting of the icy shards they kick up. I relished with anticipation the sensation of an unexpected slip and sudden plummet only to be violently jerked back by a 10 mm rope.

This is the Midwest, and there aren’t many natural waterfalls that can’t be negotiated with a standing high jump. So a climbing buff and an area farmer got together a number of winters ago and rigged ice pillars from the silos with top ropes. It’s pretty much the only game in town.

Last night, I dialed up their website to see what schedule they had this year and discovered they called off the season because of warm temps. We have had a few blizzards and below-freezing nights, but we’ve also had some unseasonably mild days, too. It takes a lot of water to ice up a tower, and if it all melts away after a few nice days, that’s a lot of wasted effort.

Maybe next year will be crummier.

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