Ice Climbing Ouray
Ouray: (Ice & Mixed Climbing) Ouray is a town with a world-wide famous Ice Park! Every season, the staff of the nonprofit organization Ouray Ice Park, Inc. unite to transform the beautiful Uncompahgre Gorge Canyon into an ice climbing mecca. Beginning in November, Ice Farmers spray water down the canyon walls of the Uncompahgre Gorge resulting in the creation of awe-inspiring walls of ice. Ouray and the surrounding San Juan mountain range are home to one of the greatest concentrations of water ice climbs in North America. Being an astonishing ice site to get started on this amazing sport. We would stay in one of the houses in Ouray´s downtown. The park is just 10min walking from downtown and everything you could need is just around the corner. Ouray is an attractive, very small town in the middle of the mountains with incredible views of them. Like Canmore, this is the perfect place for ice climbing but a bit closer.
Ice Climbing Rating System
- WI 1: Flat – like a lake… and no routes are graded WI 1.
- WI 2: Low angle ice or very short pitches up to 80 degrees.
- WI 3: Sustained pitches up to 80-degree ice with good resting places. Requires skills for placing protection.
- WI 4: Sustained pitches of vertical or off-vertical ice. May have some run-outs between protection.
- WI 5: Long pitches of vertical ice requiring good protection placement.
- WI 6: Full pitches of dead vertical ice. Featured or requiring awkward stances and movement.
- WI 7: Full pitch of thin vertical or overhanging ice. Requires exceptional skill.
- WI 8: Hardest climbs of the world.
Ice climbing is when ascending and/or climbing inclined ice formations. Ice climbers might climb on frozen waterfalls, glaciers or large rocks covered with ice. Special equipment like ice axes, ropes, ice screws and crampons are used to make the ascend on ice possible. Snow and ice are ever-changing environments that make climbing challenging and exciting.
This activity sounds technical but is really accessible to beginners for a taster with the right equipment and guides and at the right place. So you can get the thrill while feeling perfectly safe!