Monday, March 10, 2014

Ouray 2014

 On Friday my man and I took off for Ouray, Colorado, home of one of the ice climbing meccas of the U.S. Seriously. People are jealous of what is practically in our backyard. Even if it's a backyard that takes 5 hours to get to.

We met up with a crazy bunch of people there, many of whom I'd climbed with last year. We had two condos rented for the fourteen of us. Above is the view from the condos.

It was Ariel's first time on ice. First time climbing outdoors at all. He followed in my footsteps in that regard, as my first time climbing outdoors was also on ice in Ouray, three years ago.

Did I mention Ouray also has some amazing vistas?

He had, however, rappelled before, when he worked for the fire department years ago. So at least I was ok with him rapping into our first climbs, which were in the New Funtier area of the ice park. 

We had amazing weather. If I'd had a t-shirt on, I'd've worn it. Most of the time I just climbed in my long underwear top. It was so warm, there was a lot of dripping water. I've been there when it was freezing cold, and it's not fun. So while the heat is nice, when you go to climb ice, you kind of want it to stay there. 

Some of our group: Nathan, Tommy, Chad, Me, Norm, Ariel, and Erik. 
 Not pictured: John, Jonathan, Sarah, Dan, Jason, Valerie, Stephanie.

It was Stephanie's first time, too. 

 Jonathan broke his neck a few months ago, and was up climbing.

Sarah was given a 15% chance of living two months ago, and was also up climbing.

 And while it's nowhere near that serious, I did something to my back the morning we started out, and could barely walk all weekend. But I didn't go all that way to not climb. So I loosened my back as much as possible with the short walk in and then ignored the pain all day.

As I type, I've got some pain meds working their magic, and I'm sure I'll be fine in a few days.

Ice tools. 

Erik rapping in. 

Ariel giving someone a ride. 

 Nathan's got some interesting belay positions going on...

 Ariel was a natural. He climbed like he'd done it many times before. On our drive there he'd said, "I don't know why people drive all this way to climb on ice. I didn't even know you could drive this long and still be in Colorado!" I think he gets it now (although whether he comes to love climbing like I do remains to be seen).

My first year climbing, three years ago, I got hit on the shoulder with a chunk of ice that the guy I was climbing with knocked loose. This is how big I imagine it to be. I never did actually see it, but it rendered my arm useless for quite a while.

Below, some of our group are climbing up out of an area called South Park. 

 Time to chill.

Lesson Learned: Drive "all that way" to climb. We're some lucky people!

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