MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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February 27, 2014

All Fun and Games in Ouray

The 2013/14 Ouray ice season has shaped up to be one of the best years for ice climbing. The snow came early here in Colorado, mixed with cold temperatures it was the perfect remedy for fantastic backcountry and ice park climbing!

 Photo - Marc Ripperger

Sondra and I (Marc Ripperger) enjoyed guests from all over the region spanning from Florida to Canada. Everybody comes to Ouray to learn how to swing tools or tick off some of the famous backcountry ice routes. We had a lot of fun teaching an intro course to new climbers cutting their teeth on over 225 different climbing routes inside Ouray Ice Park. You can see from the pictures it is a lot of fun and games here in Ouray, from stomping around in the snow and rope hearts, to serious ice climbing. We have experienced quite a diverse winter from 18 inches of snow in 24 hours in January to t-shirt weather in February. 

Photo - Marc Ripperger

But perhaps most of all, it was a joy to help climbers improve their technique on the ice. We saw some MM climbers go from zero experience to floating up backcountry ice climbs in a matter of 3 days! Other MM climbers chose to use Ouray as a training ground to sharpen their ice skills for some alpine objectives like climbing in the Ruth Gorge in Alaska or steep alpine ice routes in the Cascades. We saw many spouses and significant others come out to the park to watch their partners climb and then have time together in the evening to soak in the hot springs or go out for a nice dinner- even better then climbing in the Alps!

Photo - Marc Ripperger

If you come out to Ouray you have to enjoy at least one day backcountry climbing. The city of Ouray plows the road up to the Campbird Mine which is an active mining spot throughout the year. Keeping this road open allows us easy access to some roadside backcountry climbing with only a 15 minute walk. Up at Campbird you can choose your own adventure, whether scratching around on some mixed routes or climbing low angle ice, there is something for everybody. The best part about Campbird are the stunning views of U.S. Peak and the afternoon sunshine to warm you up after coming down from a route.

Photo - Marc Ripperger

If you didn't make it out this year there is still time! Backcountry climbing around Ouray will be extending well into mid March- so if you still need a taste of winter, come on out! 

Otherwise, check out a wide range of ice opportunities in the Cascades this summer, including ascents or the Alpine Ice Climbing Course.

~ MM Guide Marc Ripperger