The Ouray Ice Park continues to make ice but Mother Nature doesn't want to cooperate as much now that the season is upon us. Making ice is a delicate process.
They Ouray Ice Park employs folks to farm ice. The ice men need the temperatures in the Uncompaghre Gorge to be cold enough to freeze the water and yet warm enough to keep it moving in the pipes. The ice park has the water under high pressure in the pipes and that helps keep it running. This is nothing but a science experiment on a large scale and water pressure in the irrigation system and temps of the water and outside air are variables to ice making in this grand scale. If the water pressure is too low, the water can freeze in the pipes, for example.
The water used to make ice comes from the City of Ouray's water supply and that is usually at 37 degrees Farenheit. Tempertures outside typically need to be 26 degrees Farenheit at night to be able to properly cool the water in time for it to freeze. Think Arctic Cold Blast! Optimum nighttime temps for making ice are in the mid teens.
Initially in 2010, the opening of the Ice Park was announced for this upcoming weekend (Dec 11) but the opening has been delayed since warm air temperatures have dashed that hope. It will be cold enough for the next couple of evenings to work on those fat pillars of ice but daytime temps for the weekend are a bit high. The Ouray Ice Park conditions are posted regularly on its website to keep climbers abreast of ice park conditions.
Here are a two pictures from earlier today from the road between Box Canyon Falls and the lower bridge and the kids wall.
The Box Canyon Lodge is the closest hotel to the Ouray Ice Park. We are also a major local sponsor of the Ouray Ice Park and sell memberships for them. It is a fast and painless process and we can do it for you at check-in. We can also help you if you don't stay with us. Just stop by the lobby between 8:00am and 10:00pm and we can hook you up! If you already have a membership, we give 20% off of lodging to encourage climbers to support the great effort at the park.