Monday, January 24, 2011

Ouray Ice Festival 2011 - Part 1

This post is gonna be long...

So the Ouray Ice Climbing Festival is one of the largest climbing festivals in the world.  The festival takes place in Ouray, CO in a Box Canyon right outside of town.  There is a small vendor village that supplies climbers with free demo equipment, clinics run by professional climbers, slideshows presented by prominent climbers and a competition to end the festival.  The vendor village has booths from Black Diamond, Scarpa,Petzl, Grivel and many other vendors.  They come equipped with crampons, tools and boots for climbers to use each day.  The clinics offer technical advice and training for all types of climbers.  Some are even run by well known climbers like Will Gadd or Heidi Wertz.  The ice festival brings climbers from all over the world to Ouray, CO.  The competition is always a mix of amazing climbers from the USA and all over Europe.

The Ice Park overall offers more than 150 ice routes, in the Uncompahgre Gorge, that are man made by using water diverted from a reservoir outside Ouray.  There are sprinkler heads above every route (which mark each route) and every night water is sprayed out over the canyon walls to create the ice routes.  The routes span over 1/2 mile from the Gazebo Wall at the North, all the way down the canyon to Southpark area.  The is a variety of climbing from slabs to increasingly steep ice and mixed routes.  Overall Ouray offers a fairly controlled environment where one can get a lot of climbing in, in a little amount of time.

Wednesday 1.5.11 - The Schoolroom
Ryann and I left Tuesday night after work so we could get two days of climbing before the ice festival started on Friday.  Typically during the ice festival climbers don't get to climb much unless they are in clinics, because of the large influx.  We got on plenty of routes for the three days we were there.  The first day we climbed in the Schoolroom on a couple WI3+ routes.  It was a sunny day with some really good climbing.  Ryann did a great job for it only being her third day on ice!  She climbed really well and took a lot of pointers from myself and just from watching other climbers.  The Schoolroom was pretty crowded because it was one of the only areas open the days before the ice fest.  A catwalk runs across the top of the Schoolroom and bolted anchors are abundant.  You basically setup a sport anchor and throw your rope over the edge.  After the anchor was setup we rappelled into the gorge and setup at the base.  We ran a few laps on two separate lines and called it a day.

The Schoolroom crowd
Ryann on a cool WI 4
Plenty more after the jump...

The catwalk above the Schoolroom
After climbing we went into town to check out The Ouray Mountain Shop.  We ogled the gear in the store and proceeded to get hungry and tired.  We headed back to the cabins at the Riverside Inn to fuel up on food and jump in the hot tub.  The cabins are pretty cool.  They are about 15X15 with a full bed and bunks.  A front porch, wall heater, bench, two windows and wall plugs fill out the "amenities".  We plugged in the computer and loaded pictures after dinner.  After dinner we got into the hot tub and we actually ran into a couple we met in the Schoolroom earlier in the day!  We went to bed early and slept like babies in preparation for the next day.
The hike out

Part 2 coming soon!!!


Ugh I want to go back. Favorite line "we slept like babies in preparation for the next day". Ha! We did!

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