Monday, January 21, 2013

2013 Ouray Ice Fest

There are a few annual events upon which my year revolves. Most will recognize holidays such as new years and the 4th of july to mark the year, while others prefer to measure time around vacations and events. For 14 years my annual tradition has been the Ouray Ice Festival. This event has become the premier gathering of ice climbers and alpinists from around the world. For years I’v dreamed about some day being good enough to compete in the mixed competition. This year, with some encouragement from others, I decided to give it a shot and apply!

Training in Vail. Photo Ryan Vachon

Venturing into the M11 second pitch of Redbull and Vodka. Photo Ryan Vachon

Unfortunately I was not selected for this years comp. It is a very competitive event, with several climbers flying in from Europe this year to have a chance at this year’s larger purse. The silver lining was that some of my friends, including fellow Alpine Mentors participant Marianne were accepted. Also, Vince Anderson, the route setter for the comp, was psyched to have me along with the other non-competing AM participants forerun the comp route. I found the mixed rock and ice climbing to be a breeze, but discovered I have much to learn about climbing dangling logs.  

After representing AM at the annual fundraiser dinner friday night, we awoke to a cold Saturday to cheer on our friends in the comp, including Marianne.   

Marianne, Steve, and Ines and the fundraiser dinner

Eva House, Colin, Buster, and Steven

The log turned out to the be downfall of most the competitors, only the top two sent the whole route. Marianne did awesome and ended up second in the woman’s field, and third in the speed competition. Over all it was the busiest time I’v ever had at the ice fest, but it was a pretty cool experience representing and talking about Alpine Mentors. Now, I just need to figure out a way to hang a log somewhere and learn to climb it for next year...

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