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Ouray Ice Trip Report

Posted on: April 7th, 2010 by Erik Lambert

Photo courtesy of Barry Reese.

Front Range Section Chair Chris Pruchnic and a group of others made a trek to Ouray in January. He hopes to make it a yearly event for Front Range members. Here’s his story…

Ten of us traveled from Denver to Ouray, making a pilgrimage to the city of ice and cold in “Little Switzerland.” Due to a stormy week, just traveling through the Rockies in winter added an extra dose of adventure. We arrived on a cold and grey Thursday with weather contrary to the stereotypical Colorado winter. The lack of sun and blue sky only bothered the photographers as we stared at route after route of waterfalls frozen by winter’s icy grasp.

Photo courtesy of Steve Richardson.

After a warm welcome by Jan Lisk, the proprietress of the Ouray Victorian Inn, it was time to explore the ice park and get a few laps in for the day. The weekday crowd was easily absorbed by the multitude of routes in the different sections of the park. The group, from beginners to experienced climbers, split into smaller teams of twos and threes and headed to the South Park section. Being that many of us had not climbed ice since last season, starting routes were chosen accordingly…

The park, for those who have yet to have the pleasure to visit, is a Mother Nature aided environment. Over the years the park has grown from a few climbs enhanced by redirected water to over 150 routes grown from an extensive above ground watering system that runs most days at 4:00 pm.

The après climb tradition is to visit the natural hot spring pools in town or if that is too far the hot tubs at most of the hotels are a great substitute. Stories of the day’s climbs soon ensued with great enthusiasm, as did the forecasted snowstorm. After a lengthy parboiling, the group divided up to pursue their cuisine of choice among the various Ouray establishments… Read the rest of the story, with more photos.

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