The first weekend of 2012 I spent in “the Switzerland of America,” Ouray Colorado at the Ouray Ice Festival. The quaint town of Ouray, pronounced “euray”, is nestled into a valley completely surrounded by impressive mountains. The Ice Festival takes places just above the town at the Ouray Ice Park, a “manmade ice climbing venue operated in a spectacular natural gorge.”
I like to browse Craigslist regularly and I came across a post asking for a ride-share to the festival. I’d never heard of it, but when I looked it up I knew I had to go. A six hour car ride later we arrive in Ouray.
My craigslist friend and I decided to brave the cold and car camp in a small park above the city. It was a beautifully clear night with an almost moon acting as our night light. In the morning we prepared to watch the highlight of the festival, the climbing competition. I talked the editor of Rock and Ice into getting me access to the base of the gorge so I could shoot the competition.
Emily Harrington working on her first place womens finish during the competition on Saturday
Emily Harrington shows off her “figure of nine” technique
From down inside the gorge
Nathan Kutcher crossing the ice bridge for his first place finish.
Andres Marin starting off his second place run
Rob Cordey-Cotter reaching the ice-bridge right before he timed out
Rob Cordey-Cotter free soloing a WI5 out of the gorge instead of taking the “walk of shame”
Dawn Glanc working her way across the ice bridge
Rob Cordey-Cotter topside after free soloing out of the gorge