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Silo Ice Climbing

CEDAR FALLS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) While most of us shiver inside when the temperatures drop, some people in Iowa not only embrace the ice, but create their own.

It all started when Don Briggs was working on a farm in the winter. He saw a silo and thought he might be able to rock climb it.

"And then all of a sudden a light bulb went on that maybe if I sprayed water on the silo maybe it would dribble down and form an ice column and maybe we could climb the ice column, said Briggs.

That idea lead to his creation, a wall of ice nearly 80 feet tall.

"It forms a solid vertical column from the top all the way to the bottom and it's very, very strong, said Ice Climber Ben Hoksch.

It draws groups from surrounding states but also from just down the road. Briggs is a professor at the University of Northern Iowa, where he teaches a class in ice climbing.

Thats how he got Hoksch hooked.

"It's a great opportunity because UNI is the only school in the nation that offers a graded, credited course in ice climbing, said Hoksch.

Briggs says the reward is giving students the confidence to climb something thats pretty challenging.

"I contend that if you can climb here, you can climb most anywhere in the world, said Briggs.

Even though it might look dangerous, Briggs says the most dangerous part of the day is driving to the farm to climb. He says in the 14 years that hes been Silo Ice Climbing, hes have almost no injuries.
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