OURAY – The 19th Annual Ouray Ice Festival, when one of the world’s premier ice climbing venues again hosts North America’s largest gathering of ice climbers, featuring over 75 interactive climbing clinics, free demo climbing for adults and children, the elite mixed climbing competition, the Hari Berger Speed Climbing competition sponsored by Lowa, and a full schedule of evening entertainment, is fast-approaching.
Presented by Asolo and Rock and Ice, the festival takes place Jan. 9-12.
Clinic topics this year include “Intro to Ice,” “Moderate Mixed” and “Steep Ice Techniques,” with prices starting at $49. Seminars focused on backcountry skiing and climbing are also available. Climbers can demo the latest gear from Black Diamond, Grivel, Scarpa, La Sportiva, Lowa, Asolo, Zamberlan, Petzl and Sterling Rope. Clinics are taught by professional climbers and climbing guides, in conjunction with San Juan Mountain Guides.
The general public and families are welcome at numerous free events, including the Kids’ Climbing College and Walk-up Demo Climbing for adults at the La Sportiva Zone. The latest gear from vendors like Gore-Tex, Patagonia, Rab, Osprey, Marmot, Mountain Gear, The North Face, Outdoor Research, Mountain Hardwear, Millet, Brooks-Range Mountaineering and Mammut will be on display. New this year is a family-friendly ice-skating venue in the Ouray Box Canyon visitors center parking lot. Ice skates will also be available for a modest rental fee.
On Saturday, Jan. 11, the festival showcases some of the world’s leading professional athletes in an elite mixed-climbing competition featuring $9,000 in prize money, in which athletes are challenged by a route including a 25-foot tower overhanging the Uncompahgre Gorge in a spectator friendly venue. The action continues on Sunday, Jan. 12, with the Hari Berger Speed Climbing Competition, sponsored by Lowa. Competitors will race against the clock and side by side with $7,000 in prize money.
Evening presenters include Ueli Steck, Adrian Ballinger and Kristen Kelliher, the youngest U.S. female highpointer. Adventure film buffs are in for a treat as the festival will host films at the historic Wright Opera House on Jan. 10-11; with The Road from Karakol presented and narrated by Kyle Dempster Jan. 10, and Aaron Mulkey presenting the premiere of The Pursuit Jan. 11.
Gear, climbing art and collectibles will be auctioned off during live and silent auctions. Petzl hosts the “Saturday Night Freezer” party on Jan. 11; admission proceeds support the Ouray Ice Park (admission includes beer from the Ouray Brewery and other local craft brewers, including Two Rascals, Colorado Boy and Ourayle House).
2014 OURAY ICE FESTIVAL ELITE MIXED COMPETITION
Myung Chul Kim
Le Lann, Erwan