Cold temperatures and expert “farming” have combined this year to make the ice conditions in the Uncompahgre River Gorge superb. The Ouray Ice Park and the City of Ouray are ready to show it off to climbers and spectators alike at the 2013 Ouray Ice Festival, the world’s premier ice climbing event. The 2013 Ice Festival features many opportunities to get off the bridge and play on the ice with a full schedule of events starting on Thursday, January 10 and running through Sunday, January 13.
Free is the key to enjoying the Ouray Ice Festival. Spectators are welcome and encouraged to spend the day at the festival participating in several free adventures. Since 2007, the Ouray Ice Festival has offered a free Kids Climbing College at the beginner area by the upper bridge to introduce kids to the sport. Boots, crampons, ice axes, harnesses and ropes are all part of the package and instruction and guidance comes courtesy of local guide service San Juan Mountain Guides and sponsors Caldera Resources and the Women’s Club of Ouray. Back by popular demand, the Adult Walkup Climbing, sponsored by La Sportiva, returns for adventurous adults who want to try ice climbing. San Juan Mountain Guides will also operate a free zip line across the Ice Park, giving everyone 8 and up a chance to get a bird’s eye view of the icy gorge. The zip line is sponsored by Caldera Resources and Khristopher’s Culinaire. The Kids Climbing College will be open from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Saturday and10:00 AM – 2: PM on Sunday during the festival. The zip line and Adult Walkup Climbing will be open Friday and Saturday, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM, and Sunday, 10:00 AM – 2:00PM.
For those already familiar with the sport, Ice Fest is a great way to get one-on-one instruction with world-class athletes. Every day of the festival features a number of clinics, from beginner to expert, hosted by Ice Fest sponsor-athletes. Ice Fest is also a climber’s best opportunity to see what equipment is new for the coming year and then get to test it right then and there.
On Saturday, January 12th, the Festival showcases some of the world’s leading professional athletes in an elite mixed climbing competition. Athletes in the elite mixed climbing competition will be challenged by a route that includes a 25-foot tower overhanging the Uncompahgre Gorge in a spectator friendly venue. The action continues on Sunday, January 13th, with the Hari Berger Speed Climbing Competition sponsored by Lowa. Competitors will race against the clock and side by side.
Evening presenters include Sam Elias, Ines Papert and Hayden Kennedy. Adventure film buffs are in for a treat as the Festival will host films at the historic Wright Opera House on January 11th and 12th. Friday, January 11th, the Festival will premiere The Incan Odyssey, a film documenting Marmot athletes Abbey Smith, Pete Takeda and Paige Claassen on a journey to the Cordillera Blanca in Peru to discover untapped rock and unclimbed mountain faces at extreme altitude. On January 12th, the Festival hosts award winning photographer, film maker and The North Face athlete Cory Richards who will present his latest adventure film project.
Gear, climbing art and collectibles will be auctioned off during live and silent auctions. Petzl and Arc’terx host the “Lost in Space” party. Proceeds from the admissions to these events supports the Ouray Ice Park and includes beer from New Belgium as well as local craft brewers including Ska Brewing, Ouray Brewery, Colordo Boy Brewery and Ourayle House Brewery.