Ice climbers have something to look forward to this weekend, as the Ouray Ice Park opens for the season, a full week ahead of schedule. Unseasonably cold temperatures over the past few weeks, combined with a new water system, and the diligent work of the volunteer staff, have put the park in position to have it’s best ice ever.
The new water system, according to park officials, provides a lot more pressure to the teams building the ice walls. As a result, they now have thicker, harder, and more consistent ice, which means the climbing routes are as good as they have ever been. The volunteers have been combing those routes in preparation for the opening, to ensure that they are safe and clean for the climbers, who will no doubt be lined up waiting when the gates open tomorrow at 7 AM local time.
Located in Ouray, Colorado, the Park has become the premiere ice climbing facility in the world. When it opened back in 1995, it was the only one of it’s kind, and it has continued to improve each year since. It remains free for climbers to visit and enjoy, and many of the top ice climbers from around the globe make the journey each year.
In January, the annual Ouray Ice Festival will kick off, running from the 7th through the 10th. That event is one of the top ice climbing competitions in the world as well, and offers some excellent climbing seminars, gear demos, parties, and other events. It also serves as the primary fundraiser for keeping the place open, while making upgrades to the infrastructure and other facilities.
For all the climbers heading out this weekend, have fun, and play safe. Should be a great season in Ouray!
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