Welcome Climbers! Ouray Celebrates 20 Years of World Class Competition.
For two decades now, Ouray has proudly nurtured the largest farmed Ice Park in the country, welcoming climbers from accross the globe as they explore and enjoy the ice so lovingly created by a small group of volunteers. Every year around Thanksgiving, the ice farmers begin to prep the Uncompaghre Gorge for the upcoming ice season.
Hoping for an early season, opening is usually forecasted for around mid December, but is ralrely later than the first week in January. Which is a good thing, because Ice Fest usually falls on the second weekend of the New Year.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Ouray Ice Fest, once a small gathering of ice climing enthusiasts, this festival is now one of the largest of its kind. Renowned athletes from accross the globe travel to Ouray to test their skills on the ice.
San Juan Mountain Guides will again be offering climbing clinics for all levels of experience, in addition to a Kids Climbing College, at which children ages 5 to 16 can be introduced to the wonder of ice climbing free of charge!
Booths offering everything from a sampling of the newest gear to the warmest lightest jackets line the walkway, providing shelter from the cold to onlookers and participants alike.
There are seminars offered throughout the festival, offering a variety of information and traininig from top athletes. From classes for beginners to backcountry tips for the seasoned climber, there are sure to be several that will peak your interest!
Evenings during the festival will be filled with dinners, live music and silent auctions. On Thursday, January 8, 2015, the Wright Opera House will be hosting a kick off party, with great food, fantastic prizes, live music from the group One Roof Blues, and a special screening of the North Face film “Always Above Us” with special guest Conrad Anker. The party goes from 7pm to 10pm, and it is only a $10.00 cover charge.
On Friday, January 9
After a day of interactive clinics and gear demos at the park, head on over to the Ouray Community Center for a dinner, fashion show and silent auction! The Ouray Volunteer Fire Department will be cooking up a delicious meal, and beer will be provided by the Uncompahgre Brewers Association.
Saturday, January 10th
It’s a full day and evening of fun and excitement. From gear expos, interactive clinics and the free Climbing College for the kids, to the highly anticipated Elite Mixed Climbing Competition, the day ends with another gathering at the Wright Opera Housewith presentations by Black Diamond CEO Peter Metcalf and Will Gadd. Ther will be a live auction offering a wide variety of awesome gear, and the presentation of the Jeff Lowe award. Beer provided by the Uncompahgre Brewers Association. Of course, tha’s not the end of the celebration by any means!
From 9:30 pm to 1:30 am, relive the magical moments of Prom Night (but this time you know better) at this years themed Petzl Party and dance.
Sunday, January 11
This is the last day of the festival, beginning with the Hari Berger Speed Climbing Comp, sponsored by Lowa. More interactive clinics, Kids climbing College, Gear Expos and Free Walk-up Climbing at the La Sportiva Zone fill the morning and afternoon, culminating in the ASOLO Awards Ceremony at the Outdoor Gear Expo at 1pm.
As the festival begins to wind down, there is no better way to end your time in Ouray than a warm soothing soak in the all natural mineral hot springs. Regardless of whether you have been climbing all day, or watching the competitions from the side of the Gorge, a long soak in water ranging from 103 to 108 degrees is sure to take the chill from your bones and put you in a relaxed state of mind, ready for a quiet dinner and restful evening before heading home in the morning.
Once the festival is over, and the town has quieted down somewhat, it is the ideal time to come back to Ouray, and try your hand at climbing. Take a class or go with a guide to explore the many awesome climbs in the park, as well as some in the back country!
Let the staff at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs help to plan your ice climbing adventure in Ouray!