Ice Climb at the Ouray Ice Park

Ouray; often called the Switzerland of America is home to the annual Ouray Ice Climbing Festival. Every year climbers from all over the nation converge on our neighboring town to the north to spend four days celebrating the pursuit of scaling an ice covered gorge.

The park is free and open for public use to all residents and visitors to Ouray.

Thanks to the Ouray Ice Parks state of the art ice farming system the gorge is accessible to climbers throughout the winter season, not just during the festival. The early on the ice formed from a leaking hydroelectric water pipe that ran along the Uncompahgre River gorge. Today there is a system of plumbing and sprinklers that ‘farm’ fresh ice throughout the winter once the mercury drops for the season.

For ice climbers experienced and novice this offers consistent conditions that are much less dependent on mother nature’s whims and tantrums. Today the Ouray Ice Park has over A mile of vertical terrain and more than 200 ice and mixed climbing routes. The park is free and open for public use to all residents and visitors to Ouray.

Beginners can find equipment rentals and guided courses from local companies. San Juan Mountain Guides offer a two day Intro to Ice Climbing course as well as options for private guiding.

Additional Information

Snowmobiling in Silverton

In the summertime Silverton is a mecca for 4x4 enthusiasts with some of the best off road trails in the country high above the treeline. In the winter this same network of trails offers an incredible opportunity for travel by sled.

The San Juan Mountains are known for abundant snowfall and this makes sled travel up along the mountain passes an incredible adventure. There is no better way to explore the vast alpine wilderness around Silverton in the winter.

Silverton Snowmobile Club Routes - Map

Snowmobile rentals are available from:

Avalanche Safety in the Backcountry

Here in the San Juan mountains we are blessed with some of the deepest snow and steepest ski terrain in the Continental US. Silverton Mountain and the surrounding wilderness peaks offer a backcountry experience worth traveling for. Like any backcountry area this does not come without risk. While exploring the backcountry is an endeavor we believe is worth the effort, avalanche equipment and safety training are must.

Over the past 10 years an average of 27 lives are lost each season to avalanches in the United States. We don’t want of our guests to be among the statistics. So, before you had out in to these beautiful mountains make sure you have the proper functioning equipment, the knowledge of avalanche safety, and have checked the conditions.

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Avalanche Safety Equipment

Basic

  • Avalanche Beacons

  • Avalanche Probes

  • Snow Shovel

Advanced

  • Airbag Equipped Backpack:

  • Snow Saw


 
Caution Avalanche Danger

Avalanche Safety Training

Nothing will beat on the snow training in front of a live expert and we happen to have a wonderful courses offered here in Silverton by the Silverton Avalanche School. They run classes throughout the season and classes can be booked in advance through their website.

If you need a refresher or just can’t make it to a live class online courses are better than nothing and Know Before You Go based out of Utah just launched a free online course for the 2018-19 season.

Regardless of how you get your training; make sure you get it. Avalanche safety equipment is useless to you and your partners if you lack the skills to use it effectively in an emergency

 

Know the Conditions

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) publishes up to date forecasts for areas all across the state with detailed information concerning. While this provides a good reference nothing is better than your trained observation on the ground.

An avalanche safety course an teach you how do dig a snowpit and make your own assessment by looking for weak layers in the snowpack. While the general forecast from CAIC can tell you a lot about general conditions only an assessment you do yourself will inform you about the specific conditions on the specific slope you are exploring.

Visit CAIC for up to date avalanche conditions

Visit CAIC for up to date avalanche conditions