Ouray, Colorado
Ice Climbing
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Click for VideoThe Ouray Ice Park is world famous for man-made ice and the annual Ice Festival held every January. Ouray is a small mountain town in Southwest Colorado. Once a mining town, it probably would have disappeared or slowly dwindled away if an accident had not occurred. A leak in the fresh water pipe running along the top of a river gorge created a long ice fall one year ... and the rest was history!

From the Park website:

Located in the Uncompahgre Gorge in Ouray, Colorado, the Ouray Ice Park was opened in 1995 as the world's first park devoted exclusively to the sport of ice climbing. Climbing in the park is free. A small band of volunteers developed the Park utilizing a unique set of assets found perhaps only in Ouray. An unprecedented number of climbers visiting from around the world has lead to the formation of a nonprofit corporation to manage the Park. Thanks to a $5,000 donation from the Access Fund, a $7,000 donation from the Ouray Chamber Resort Association, and a $20,000 anonymous donation; the Ouray Ice Park now has a reliable and constant source of water and a brand new plumbing and delivery system.

Click for VideoThere are now ten different climbing areas roughly split by a 2 lane bridge crossing the river. Access is incredibly easy with most climbs not farther than a 15 minute walk from your car. Routes ranges from easy Water Ice 2 (WI2) in the School Room to WI5 in South Park to Mixed climbs to 5.15b rock climbing. Click for VideoIn other words, whatever you want. Most routes can be top roped but certain areas are designated for lead only routes.

Ouray has a great diversity of guide services. It is a great place to learn by hiring a guide for a day or two. This is what I did with Tower Guides, Andy Petefish, in 2000. Skyward Mountaineering is another excellent service.In 2006, I climbed with three friends - Paul, Joel and Larry. Larry owns Fort Collins Video and recorded our climbs. He put together a great demo video you can see here. We had a great time and took a bunch of pictures.