The Ouray Ice Park is now open for the 2016-2017 season!
Opening a week earlier than last year, the ice is holding strong on the cliffs of the Uncompaghre River Gorge. Climbers from all over the world have been awaiting this day for months, preparing and training over the off season to come climb in beautiful Ouray, Colorado.
The gorge has treasured this unique place for over two decades. It is there, where this magical formation occurs; as it sits below a reservoir which runs water through the cliffside penstock. Water is diverted through a series of pipes in order to spray water to create the ice climbs. The boys in charge of building and maintaining the ice at the park are called Ice Farmers.
Unusual weather has struck our mountain valley over the past several months. We observed warm summer-like weather up until the end of November. During this time, the Ice Farmers were able to prepare the park for a smooth season ahead – organizing, cleaning, and updating the park as needed. Our first consistent freezing temperatures hit the beginning of December. During this period of time, the Ice Farmers made good use of the cold weather and were able to run water every night for nearly two weeks straight. This effort, in cooperation with the weather, has made up the bulk of the ice at the park. Between then and now, the Ice Park has persevered through 40 degree days and a couple of rainy days. Before this occurred, much of the Ice Park appeared in great condition. Due to these circumstances, only a few areas of the Ice Park are open, in hopes that we can fatten up the rest of the ice for a quality remainder of the season.
Currently, the North end of the park is closed. About 80% of the South end of the park is open with select closures throughout School Room and South Park. For those enjoying the free park, please be respectful to the rules in place, the closed routes signs, and to the other climbers around you. For more information about the park check out www.ourayicepark.com or our Facebook and Instagram feeds.