Ouray Ice Park: Behind the Ice

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/82887511″>Ouray Ice Park: Behind the Ice</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user7551272″>Outside Adventure Media</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The Ouray Ice Park is one of the premier ice climbing destinations in the world. But the amazing walls of ice are not just the work of Mother Nature.

The Park is a non-profit organization that relies solely on memberships, sponsorships, and donations to exist. It is home to more than 200 man-made ice and mixed climbs and, despite the high cost of operation, remains free and open for public use.

Join the Ice Park team by visiting the Membership page at ourayicepark.com/about/membership.

Thank you for supporting the Ouray Ice Park and for sharing this video with your friends.

Video created by Barry Stevenson, OutsideAdventureMedia.com.

The 19th Annual Ouray Ice Festival was the biggest and best ever!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/84681367″>2014 Ouray Ice Festival Recap</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user7551272″>Outside Adventure Media</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The Ouray Ice Park will open FRIDAY DECEMBER 26!!!

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Ouray Ice Park

December 24 conditions update: The Ouray Ice Park will open FRIDAY DECEMBER 26!!! The opening will be limited to the South half of the Park (from the Upper Bridge to South Park). The North end is getting there but still needs a little more love before it is ready for prime time. We do have a few pockets of resistance on the South end and those spots will be marked as closed. Please enjoy what we do have open and respect local closures. Our ice farmers will continue to work extremely hard, including over the Christmas holiday to get the Park ready for a great season.

Enjoy the ice and a big thanks to everyone who continues to support the Ouray Ice Park.

(Photos by Dan Chehayl)


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Ouray + Ice Climbing

No one can pronounce it correctly, so don’t let that be an immediate scare. This tiny Switzerland-type mountain town is majestic, it doesn’t matter what season you visit. For most of us, this place is remote and not easily accessible for a winter weekend getaway. However, should you have plans to be in the area visiting family, or if you can escape for 3-4 nights, then Ouray – hurray, here you come.

Ouray is also known as one of the best and most accessible ice climbing venues in the world because you can walk from your hotel to the Ice Park and then park for a soak in the hot springs. The Ouray Ice Park is for children of ages and climbing abilities of all kinds. There is a group called the kids climbing college, that will suit up kids and up them on the ice wall, climbing up 40 feet in a matter of minutes, and lends itself to wonderful vacation photos. The Ice Park itself is over a mile long, is free and has over 100 routes to explore. Usually it is open from mid-December through mid-March, weather, of course, a factor. There are two great local guide services for beginners, San Juan Mountain Guides and Peak Mountain Guides.

Soak in the Season

And while in Ouray, that’s right, another hurray, take a soak, in sulphur free hot springs! We’ve stayed at Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs which provides private guest-only free soaks in a multitude of tubs with phenomenal views. Two other lodging facilities with hot springs on site include The Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs and The Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa and Lodgings.The Ouray Hot Springs Pool is the city-owned public facility featuring three different temperature sections.Ouraycolorado.com .

Editors Note: 

While staying and relaxing in Ouray and enjoying all of the small time charm that is little Gem of the San Juans, come into the Silver Nugget Cafe for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Serving Monday-Saturday 8 am to 7 pm and Sundays from 8 am to 2 pm.

Chicks with Picks helps women kick axe

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More ladies taking the sharp end of the rope in rock and ice climbing 

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Kim Reynolds is a natural born athlete, putting on her first pair of skies at the age of three and road tripping with her family by station wagon from their lakeside home in Minnesota to the mountains of Colorado throughout the years as she was growing up.

Reynolds studied outdoor leadership at Prescott College and was guiding clients in the outdoors by the time she was 19 years old.  She’s led expeditions to the Himalayas, taught Antarctica survival courses and competed in the X Games and Ouray Ice Festival.

“I knew I was going to live in the mountains,” Reynolds said. “I’m one of the rare cases of someone who knew what she was going to do.”

In 1999 she founded Chicks with Picks – based in Ridgway – with Kellie Day in order to promote women climbing with women for women, in part because ice climbing was just starting to transition from a well-kept secret to a well-known extreme sport.

“The X Games in 1998 brought ice climbing into the living room,” said Reynolds. “At that time there were very few women that ice climbed.”

Reynolds and Day wanted to create a safe, encouraging space for women to learn how to become proficient ice climbers, not only learning how to top-rope to follow behind a lead climber, but also mastering the more technical aspects fo the sport like setting up anchors and leading climbs on the sharp end of the rope.

“We very intentionally created a fun and supportive atmosphere for women, make a seemingly intimidating sport approachable.” Reynolds said.

Despite the fact that many outdoor climbing areas and indoor gyms tend to skew male, Reynolds says women are naturally better climbers.

Where a man can climb up a difficult route using brute force, she said women move better, with grace and deliberation and often employing better footwork because they can’t rely on the upper body strength advantage men have.

Learning from the sport’s best professional women climbers also means that clinic participants learn the very best technigue, Reynolds added.

If your watching the best women climb, you’re going to learn the best technique,” she said.

Six years ago, Chicks with Picks expanded with Chicks Rock, a series of clinics by women for women that teach rock climbing skills.

Set in some of the most classic climbings crags in the country – Indian Creek in Utah for crack climbing, Red Rocks in Nevada for single-and multi-pitch climbing, and Rifle in Colorado for more difficult grades – Chicks Rock pairs participants with professional lady climbers in an intimate learning environment.

“Women learning from other women is inspiring for the fact that we’re women, we have the same challenges that each other has,” Reynolds said. “Women gain more confidence and support from other women.”

Chicks with Picks has graduated more than 1,000 women in their 16 years of operation, starting with 18 women the first year and now averaging between 100 and 150 women between their ice climbing clinics every year.

Many alumni come back year after year for clinics and become leaders in the sport, Reynolds said.

In addition to training multiple generations of women to be superlative and self-sufficient climbers, the organization has also given nearly $200,000 to local organizations including the Tri-County Women’s Resource Center Chicks with Picks is their largest donor to date – and the Ouray Ice Park.

Chicks with Picks hosting two public slideshow and live auctions this winter to raise money for local organizations, on Jan. 26 and 31 at 7 p.m. at the Ouray Conference and Community Center. 

The Watch 

by Mary Slosson

Associate Editor 

20th Annual Ouray Ice Festival

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Get those parties for the 20th Annual Ouray Ice Festival on lock down!
The Ouray Ice Park is pleased to announce that, in honor of the 20th Anniversary, they are offering Festival Passes for the incredibly popular after hours events.

The 20th Anniversary ALL ACCESS Ouray Ice Festival Pass:
Provides admission on a first-come, first seated (where applicable) basis to all Ouray Ice Festival Events & automatically pre-registers you for demo gear card to be used throughout the fest!

(Ouray Ice Park photo share of: Petzl athlete Jeff Mercier crushing the last move on his way to winning the 2014 Ouray Ice Festival Elite Mixed Comp. We’re super psyched that Jeff will be back for this year’s Fest!)

Ice Climbing in Ouray


Thinking about a trip to Ouray this winter? Check out our Ouray Travel Planner page for information about how to get here and where to stay: http://ourayicepark.com/travel-planner/

Please support our awesome local business partners that help us keep the Park free.

Don’t forget that Ouray Ice Park members enjoy travel discounts as well: https://oip.z2systems.com/np/clients/oip/membershipJoin.jsp