Friday, January 11, 2008

Ouray: Day 3

Today we woke up at 7 and headed into Ouray for some breakfast and to meet up for our clinics. We walked into the Cafe and saw Will Gadd at the counter. Kim kept nudging me and motioning towards him. I was like, I know I see him.

If you don't know who Will Gadd is, he's this famous ridiculous climber guy who wrote a book on ice climbing that Kim and I read last year. No sorry, we didn't just read it, we quoted it and lived by it for an entire season of ice climbing. We would say things like, "What would Will do?" and "Well, Will said... [fill in the blank]". I'm generally not a star struck kind of person but it was interesting to see what he was having for breakfast before a day of climbing. Kim strolled up to the counter afterwards and said, "I'll have whatever he's having!"

So I probably said this yesterday, but Ouray is awesome. It is completely spoiling me and kicking my ass at the same time. Spoiled because I can drive right up to the canyon, hike a quarter mile and rap down to unlimited possibilities in ice climbing. The temperatures around 30 during the day, toasty warm, and the sun shines until after 5pm. At the top of the climb there are vendors with food, and booths with all of the latest climbing gear for us to demo for free. It's kicking my ass because the climbs are harder than anything I've even attempted in Alaska.

In the morning I had a class called "Fundamental Footwork". We hiked down into the canyon and suited up. Our instructor, Olivia said, "Today we'll be climbing without tools." I looked up at the proposed routes and realized that I was going to climb without tools on Grade 4 ice which is more difficult than most of the climbs I have done. After 3 hours of climbing without tools and falling repeatedly I was exhausted and thoroughly convinced that before today I have been hanging on my tools way to much.

In the afternoon I had Intermediate/Advanced Ice. When I showed up at the climb they said that an extra instructor was going to be added to the clinic, and that the instructor was going to be Ines Papert. Ines is the best woman ice climber in the world and in the top 5 best ice climbers in the world. Two years ago at Ouray she beat out all the guys and took first place overall in the climbing competition.

So I found out being instructed by one of the best ice climbers in the world really pays off. First we watched Ines dance up the climb like she was walking down the street. Then she watched us each climb and individually critiqued us. My climbing improved more today than any other day that I have climbed.

I found out that I accidentally signed up for the Advanced Mixed Climbing for Women class, which is absurd because I have never climbed a mixed route in my life. The clinic is being held on one of the most difficult mixed routes in the canyon. Sooooo, I'm going to try and switch out of that class and get into the Beginner Mixed course. Even if I don't get to try mixed I have already learned enough to make the trip worthwhile.

Okay gotta go to bed now...

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