The Best Ice Climbing in Colorado
From mid-December through mid-March Ouray is full of climbing activity and good cheer, with “Have an Ice Day” greeting you from almost every open merchant and lodger’s window. Jim Donini, former president of the American Alpine Club, calls the Ouray Ice Park “the best venue in the world to develop ice-climbing skills,” and it’s easy to see why. The Ice Park is home to more than 200 ice and mixed climbs, most within a 15-30 minute walk from downtown Ouray. There are many opportunities to pick up the sport, you can hire an experienced local guide or attend one of the many seasonal clinics that have something for every group from beginner to expert, kid to adult, able-bodied to amputee. Money was raised at the 2007 Ouray Ice Festival for an area to be established for beginners above the gorge in Memory of Sue Nott, Karen McNeil and other climbers lost to the mountains. This area is better for beginners than many of the existing areas since a descent into the gorge is not required. Adults and guides are required to yield to children at all times.
The Ice Park is an engineering marvel, utilizing a gravity-fed plumbing system that routes more than 150,000 gallons of water a night to “farm” and maintain the famous blue ice. The Park is a non-profit supported by memberships; more information is available on their website.
The Ouray Ice Park is just south of Ouray off of Camp Bird Road. Rentals and guide services are available locally. To make arrangements call the Ice Park at 970-325-4288.
The Ouray Ice Park (the Park) is a manmade ice climbing venue operated in a spectacular natural gorge just outside the town of Ouray, CO. It is home to more than 200 named ice and mixed climbs, most within a 15-minute walk of the Park entrance. The Park and its infrastructure are jointly owned and managed by the City of Ouray, the nonprofit Ouray Ice Park, Inc. (OIPI), and a mix of other private and public landowners. Each winter, OIPI hosts the Ouray Ice Festival to celebrate the Park and raise funds for its operation. Despite the high cost of its maintenance, the Park remains free and open for public use. In nearly 20 years of operation, it has become one of the premier ice climbing venues in the world.
The range’s steep relief and deep gorges provide a superb venue for climbing. Roads carved into the sides of mountains throughout Ouray’s rich mining history provide stunning access to that terrain today. Classic ice climbs, such as Bird Brain Boulevard, Stairway to Heaven, and the Ames Ice Hose, along with natural waterfalls such as Bridal Veil Falls and extensive alpine terrain, make the San Juans a hub for world-class climbing.
Natural classics in the Gorge like Stone Free and Tangled Up In Blue have been climbed s