Ouray Ice Climbing
Ouray is ranked as one of the most popular locations for ice climbing in the world. Not only do the surrounding mountains provide numerous spectacular ice-climbing routes, Ouray has the only ice park where over a mile of farmed ice is available to climbers right in the city limits, easily accessible and free to all who enjoy this exciting sport.
With the accessibility of the Ouray Ice Park, more Ouray visitors are walking to the park and watching the climbers from the bridges and also from the stands built for this purpose along the top of the Uncompahgre Gorge. Climbers are usually in the park throughout the day but typically start early. CAUTION: Be sure to dress warmly and stay away from both the climbing area and edge of the gorge. Click here to see a fabulous video of the Ouray Ice Park.
There are a number of world-class outfitters who live in the Ouray area. If you are interested in learning how to ice climb, pick up brochures for the area outfitters and guides and one of Ouray’s free “Ice Climbing” brochures at the Ouray Visitor Center or at many of Ouray’s motels.
If this sport is new to you consider staying in Ouray for several days and including ice climbing lessons with your other outdoor activities.
Ouray Ice Park
Located in Ouray, CO, a location described by Rock and Ice magazine as “the perfect place for an ice park” (February 2006), the Ouray Ice Park (the Park) was built by an enthusiastic all-volunteer work force, entirely with donated materials and capital. Ouray Ice Park, Inc. (OIPI) is a nonprofit corporation that includes seven volunteer board members who are considerably skilled at ditch digging and plumbing systems. The Park as we know it today is a shining example of what a volunteer organization can accomplish with little capital but a lot of enthusiasm and vision. OIPI has continued to improve and expand the Park each year through memberships, corporate sponsorships, and funds raised by the annual Ouray Ice Festival.
Ouray Ice Park facts:
- 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
- Numerous viewing and observation points
- Within 1 hour of several premier and “classic” backcountry ice climbs, such as Bridal Veil Falls, Ames Ice Hose, Stairway to Heaven, and Bird Brain Boulevard
Ouray Ice Festival
The Ouray Ice Festival is an eclectic gathering of ice climbers, gear manufacturing exhibitors, and ice climbing voyeurs simply thrilled to watch at a safe distance from the precipitous edges. This annual festival, first held in January of 1996, is now widely recognized as being the premier gathering of its kind, with familiar faces returning annually to climb, socialize, test out the latest equipment, or watch the pro’s try to scratch their way up the latest competition route.
Supporting members of the Ouray Ice Park receive a 20% discount through the winter season and 10% off in the summer; just show your membership card at check in.
For more information please download this pdf.
Check out the flipbook for the Ouray Ice book for 2014