The Amazing Ouray Ice Park

Do you know why the Ouray Ice Park is so amazing?  One of our guests posed that question last night while we were chatting about his day on the ice. Several answers popped to mind but I asked him why he thought it was amazing. His response: ‘because Ouray did something that no other town has done, you created a unique place that can attract people from all over the world. Nothing like the Ouray Ice Park exists anywhere else. It is the perfect place to climb ice.

Ice formations in the Ouray Ice Park

Ready for climbing

Now we here in Ouray know that the Ice Park is pretty cool but it was really nice to hear that from a visitor. We talked about all the things that had to come together to make the Ice Park happen, deep gorges, enough water to make the ice, cold weather to keep it icy, a most importantly a town willing to come together to make it happen. Lots of places have deep gorges and lots of places have water and cold nights but Ouray is the only place where a group of citizens, all volunteers, got together to make it happen. They negotiated land and legal agreements with the National Forest Service, private landowners, and the City of Ouray to create the park. They got the water rights and found the money to build a network of pipes and sprayers to create the ice, and observation decks to watch the climbers, and finally created the organization that is in charge to the park. All of this in a location within walking distance of restaurants and hotels.  A pretty amazing accomplishment when you think about it.

Today the Ice Park has
• Open and free climbing facilities available from mid-December to late March
• Fully developed climbing along a 1 mile stretch of the Uncompahgre Gorge, within walking distance of downtown Ouray, Colorado
• 14 distinct climbing areas: South Park, New Funtier, Grad School, School Room, Alcove, Kid’s Climbing Wall, Upper Bridge, Lower Bridge, Scottish Gullies, Five Fingers, Stump Wall, Shithouse Wall, and Gazebo Wall
• More than 200 ice and mixed climbs, from beginner to expert, included in more than 3 miles of vertical terrain
• Dozens of fixed anchors and access points throughout the Park

Come visit,  come climb, come stay. The Ice Park is open and the 2012 Ice Fest begins this weekend.

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