The Ouray Ice Park Prepares for the Best Year of Ice Climbing to Date!
December 15, 2012 is the projected opening day for the Ice Park this year, and, as always, we wait with baited breath as the ice farmers groom the canyon walls for a season of climbing in the spectacular Uncompahgre Gorge in Ouray, Colorado, home to one of the largest man-made ice parks in the world. Mother Nature at times plays with us a little, giving us these gorgeous 60*F days in early December, and creating concerns that perhaps there will not be enough ice to open on time, but the weatherman has promised a change in temperature, and snow by Christmas, so those of us at the Box Canyon Lodge at least anticipate a great season for climbers.
Nestled at the base of the Uncompahgres in Southwest Colorado, Ouray County boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. With the first glimpse of the town as guests descend from the breath taking drive over the Million Dollar Highway from Durango, the nick-name Switzerland of America no longer sounds as arrogant. Snow covered peaks, and steaming mineral hot springs without even a hint of sulfur add to the appeal of this tiny mining town, filled with Victorian architecture standing proud and untouched since the birth of Ouray.
As if the opportunities for a variety of winter sports in the area were not enough, Ouray is ranked as one of the most popular locations in the world for ice climbing. Not only do the surrounding mountains provide numerous spectacular ice-climbing routes, Ouray has the first ice-climbing park in the U.S. where a mile of farmed ice is available only a two-block walk from the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs and free to all who enjoy this unique sport. This year, a 25 foot overhanging steel tower has been erected on top of the Dizzy prow. Not only will this add to the elite mixed climbing comp route at Ice Fest, and the Hari Berger Speed Climbing Comp this year, spectators will have an unparalleled view of each complex move.
Learn more about the Official Site of Ouray Ice Park and this new and exciting sport by visiting their website. Enjoy the annual Ouray Ice Festival and witness some of the world’s best athletes compete for titles and prizes. The 2013 Ouray Ice Festival will be held January 10 through January13, 2013, and will be featuring dramatic changes. Not only is the new steel tower an exciting addition for climbers and spectators alike, this year there will be over $16,000.00 in prize money to be awarded to the best of the best! For more information on this world renowned competition see the Official Ouray Ice Park Festival site.
Regardless of whether you are a seasoned climber, drained from a morning of exhilarating climbs, or a fan of the sport, heading back from watching these amazing athletes traverse frozen waterfalls, return to the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs to take a soak in the mineral hot springs hot tubs terraced on the mountainside. The canyon holds a beauty and majesty in crisp ice reflecting every color of the rainbow, yet she can chill you to the bone, and nothing takes the bite of cold away like our tubs! With temperatures ranging from 103* F to 108* F, a 15 minute soak will soothe away the winter chill and rejuvenate you for an evening of relaxation in this beautiful little mountain town.
If you are interested in ice climbing instruction or guiding for this activity, contact the San Juan Mountain Guides (970-325-4925).