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.