Ice Path Is Still Pokemon’s Hardest Challenge

I’m not going to lie to you, I breezed past Whitney in my first playthrough of Pokemon Silver. I don’t know why or how, but I only realised she was a problem when I got older and saw millions of people complaining about her Miltank on the internet. Guess you all just need to git gud.

One thing that did stump me, however, was Ice Path. This slippery bastard was a huge square of ice. You can’t walk on it properly, instead gliding over its surface in the direction you started. A few rocks and boulders punctuate the glossy surface, and you soon learn you can crack its perfect surface with more, using Strength to push them down from the floors above.

You can see the exit. You watch it slide past, tantalising but just out of reach as you slip and slide on by at not-quite-the-right-angle. I tried to work it out backwards, starting at the exit, and planning my route across in reverse. That didn’t work. I don’t know whether it was poor planning or poor execution, but I ended up a square off every time.

It didn’t help that every time I went back to solid, grippy ground, I’d encounter another horde of Delibird or Swinub. Solving the Strength puzzle upstairs was similarly plagued by Pokemon, making the solution yet more infuriating, having to retrace my steps and remember what stage I was at every time I ran from another encounter. Don’t forget, I was but a child when Gold & Silver came out, I probably played them at around the age of six or seven, so Repels were an illogical waste of money. Just like status moves, right?

Looking back, it feels like I spent weeks stuck inside that mountain, desperate to get to Blackthorn City and challenge Clair. Except I didn’t know that’s what was coming, so I was just excited to continue my journey to becoming a Pokemon master, the very best like no one ever was. Professor Elm had entrusted me with the task of filling the Pokedex, but he hadn’t mentioned anything about navigating glacial caves. In reality, I probably only spent days or even mere hours trying out different paths across the ice. One thing I do remember, though, is how I eventually did it.

I went to Game and bought a guidebook. One name sticks in my memory: the Pokemon Pocket Pokedex, or Triple-P as me and my brother used to call it. However, this wasn’t released until 2006, so I must have used a precursor to help me tackle Ice Path. Whatever it was called, this was the first time I’d ever used a guide to help me beat a game. I didn’t have loads of access to the internet at this age, and friends at school were as helpful as Nevermeltice on an Arcanine.

This was a major step in my Pokemon career, and guides helped me to complete Pokedexes for years to come. I didn’t feel like I’d cheated, I just felt relief that it was over. I was through. Someone else had a bigger brain than I, and I was through. The glacial puzzle was no match for me and my little book. I felt like I could defeat God, so I did the next best thing: beat up Clair and her Dragons with my newly acquired Piloswine.

If you happen to be stuck at this point two decades after me, you don’t need to buy a guidebook. I’ll pay it forward and write out the directions here. Once you’ve forced every boulder into the main ice puzzle, follow this precisely: down, left, up, left, down, left (pick up the Max Potion), down, right, up, left, one step down, right, down, left, down, left, up, right. Easy.

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