There is no more gear-intensive niche of diving. Consider that setup for an ice dive can commence at 9 a.m., with first divers splashing in at noon.
In the three hours in between, a four-wheeler clears the snow. Next come chain saws.
Tongs remove a triangle-wedge of ice large enough to cool the world’s biggest cocktail. More gear. Ice screws. Locking carabiners. Divers suit up in harnesses and helmets. Safety team suits up in flotation gear.
The entry point is staked with caution tape, to warn passersby, but perhaps also to remind students of the myriad rules. Don’t breathe on your regulator on the surface because it might freeze. Your helmet is the only thing keeping you from smacking your noggin against ice in the event of a runaway ascent. Under the ice, divers travel no more than a combined horizontal and vertical distance of 130 feet. Is it worth it? Save that thought for the warming hut.
5 Essential pieces of ice-diving gear and equipment
Pinnacle Aquatics Drysuit Hood
Pinnacle Aquatics’s 7 mm merino drysuit hood features a short-cut collar and a gusseted rear zipper that makes donning and doffing easier. The smooth-skin inner lining seals with your drysuit neck seal. Available in sizes small to XXL.
Price: $69 More Info: pinnacleaquatics.com
Apeks Black Ice
Even the name of this weight-integrated BC suggests that the heavy-duty construction won’t let you down. Its oversize weight pouches are just what you need to help dial in your buoyancy for this type of tec diving.
Price: $715 More Info: apeksdiving.com/us
Mares Abyss 22 Navy Reg
If you’re looking for a reg that can be pushed to extremes, look no further than the Abyss 22 Navy, which was the first reg approved for cold-water use by the military. The first stage has a dry-sealed spring chamber to prevent freezing and protect internal compartments from contaminants.
Price: $629 More Info: mares.com
Bare Sports HDC Expedition Tech Dry
If this suit — made from flexible Cordura fabrics — looks like it wouldn’t withstand the rigors of ice diving, think again. The heavy-duty kneepads are made from Kevlar — the same material used in body armor — and its slim “cave cut” design improves its in-water dynamics.
Price: $2,999.95 More Info: baresports.com
Bare Sports 7 mm K-Palm Three-Finger Mitt
If you prefer a three-finger mitt-style glove, the double-glued, blind-stitched K-Palm has a Kevlar covering on high-abrasion areas such as the palm and fingers, and a gauntlet-style adjustable cuff that minimizes water intrusion.
Price: $51.95 More Info: baresports.com