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Ice Climbing

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Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Corey Buhay in the Elite Mixed Climbing Competition at the Ouray Ice Festival, competitors scale a route against the clock that starts on ice, moves to rock, and ends on a specially built climbing wall. Every time they clip their rope into an anchor, they score a point. At the Ouray Ice Park in Ouray, Colorado, on Saturday Jan. 22, 2022.
Ice climbing

In Colorado you can farm potatoes, sweet corn, melons, peaches, chiles – and you can farm ice. This is what happens in Ouray every winter.

Ice farmers send the city’s excess water down two miles of the Uncompaghre Gorge’s canyon walls. After about a month of careful monitoring and spraying, Ouray Ice Park opens to the public. Since the mid nineties, this mecca of ice climbing draws thousands of people every year. Equipped with crampons, special boots, ropes, harnesses and axes, they take on 150 different routes and contribute significantly to the local economy.

Climbers also enjoy the ice park in Lake City, and frozen waterfalls like Fish Creek in Steamboat Springs, and Zapata in the San Luis Valley. The sport gained a lot of visibility in 2019, when the first Ice Climbing World Cup Finals in America – featuring a 50-ft high wall of ice – came to downtown Denver, and was attended by 25 thousand people.

About Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards

Colorado Postcards are snapshots of our colorful state in sound. They give brief insights into our people and places, our flora and fauna, and our past and present, from every corner of Colorado.