Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ouray: Day 2

Wow. That is all I can say. I wish I could post just one of the 40 pictures I took today. This place is amazing, beautiful, and totally overwhelming. Kim and I drove the ten minutes into the town of Ouray today to check out Box Canyon, where the Festival will take place this weekend.

We drove up to the canyon, parked the car and walked up the road to the bridge. We looked down over the bridge into the canyon and were completely awestruck. Ice everywhere. As far as we could see down the canyon to our left and to our right. And as far as we could see down. Beautiful blue, green, yellow and white formations of hanging ice and enormous pillars touching down to the canyon floor 400 feet down.

We were totally excited and intimidated at the same time. Have the little climbs we have done in Alaska prepared us for this? I guess we will find out. We hiked around and checked out the town. Watched some of the qualifying rounds of the climbing competitions. Got our Ouray Ice Park memberships. Ate at a cute little cafe with delicious scones and hot soup.

We checked out the climbing store in awe of the selection of tools, packs, and gear that we don't have in Alaska. I asked about a Simond Ice clipper that I tried out when in Canmore last year. I've been looking for it ever since, but you just can't find them in the US or online. The owner of the store actually got on the phone with the Simond representative and was going to ask them to send me one, but he just got voice mail.

Then we went back to the canyon and suited up and decided to find a climb. Since we only brought our dinky 60 meter rope we didn't have many options. You can't really hike down into the canyon. You have to rappel. And you can't really see what your rappelling into and you are not really sure if you will be able to climb out once you get down there. What if we rap in to some crazy overhanging mixed route?

We talked to some people and ended up finding an area at end of the canyon where the climbs were all in the 30 meter range and rapped in. It was late in the day so we got in a few laps, still huffing and puffing from the altitude, then I climbed out and belayed Kim up.

I'm feeling better now that we got some warm up climbs in. Tomorrow we have two clinics each. I signed up for Advanced Ice in the morning, but after seeing what advanced is here in Ouray, I'm not so sure that I am advanced. We'll see. I may totally make a fool of myself tomorrow, but that is what I do best.

That's all for now....

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