An excellent and under-appreciated novel. Ursula K. LeGuin is a truly under-appreciated writer and this again shows why.
The book is about gender and friendship and explores them both in interesting ways. However, with the passage of time, it is the great wintery landscapes and the physicality of the journey through the ice that stay with you the most.
I wish more American SF and fantasy had followed her example. She should be seen as one of the most important American writers of the late 20th century, but sadly she is not.