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Ice Climbing

We bet you never thought you could be doing this.  Ice Climbing is not something you will find everywhere, but it is available for you here on the San Juan Skyway.

Ice Climbing

We bet you never thought you could be doing this.  Ice Climbing is not something you will find everywhere, but it is available for you here on the San Juan Skyway.

Ice Climbing Activities 01

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Activities: Ice Climbing,

From $222.00

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Ice Climbing Activities 02

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Activities: Ice Climbing,
NEAR Southeast Colorado

From $234.00

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ACTIVITIES AND TOURS

Peak Mountain Guides

Ice climbing, rock climbing, ski mountaineering. If you want some form of climbing to be in your future Peak Mountain Guides will fill the bill.

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Splitter Alpine Adventures

his company specializes in ice climbing near Ouray and rock climbing in the Black Canyon near Gunnison.

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San Juan Mountain Guides

ake advantage of numerous options to enjoy ice climbing in Ouray as well as rock climbs in Ouray, Durango, Telluride and Black Canyon near Gunnison. Via Ferrata courses are also available in both Ouray and Telluride.

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Irwin Guides

Irwin Guides operates primarily out of Crested Butte and Gunnison which are about a 2 hour drive from the 'Skyway' location of Ridgway. They provide tours in the following disciplines: snowshoeing,ice climbing, rock climbing, biking trips, hiking, fishing, rafting and stand-up paddling,

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Ice Climbing Activities on the San Juan Skyway

Ice Climbing is not an activity that can be found in many places

At an altitude of about 8,200 feet, Ouray, Colorado, is a small town crammed into a pocket of the San Juan Range just below Red Mountain Pass. A former mining town, Ouray has become renowned among Alpine climbers around the world. In the early 1990s, Ouray had the good fortune to be discovered by a group of mountaineers who noticed thick blue ice hanging off the sides of cliffs lining the Uncompahgre Gorge. Ouray rested precariously on the edge of that gorge. Since the late 1800s, when miners from all over the American West swamped the town in search of gold, Ouray had little to boast of, before and after becoming the county seat for Ouray County. No one envisioned that this quintessential mountain town, holding on dearly to its 19th century history, would become the winter ice climbing capital of the U.S.

Until the early 1990s, the Uncompahgre Gorge was known for marvelous blue ice by only a small circle of local climbers. Most of this gorgeous ice actually originated from a leak in a pipe that ran down along the edge of the gorge. Its source was the Ouray Hydroelectric Dam. At that time, the population of the town was dissipating. Fortuitously, however, in 1989 a California windsurfer-turned-ice climber named Bill Whitt moved to Ouray to transform the leaky pipes into a steady source of water. Witt and his partner, Gary Wild, also ambitiously aimed to revitalize the town. They purchased the Victorian Hotel located on what was then a very empty Main Street. With several years of work, collaboration from other dedicated climbers, and cooperation from Ouray Hydroelectric and the U.S. Forest Service, owners of both the water and land, the dream of Ouray Ice Park evolved until its opening in 1995. The Park even had its first ice festival a year later, the Arctic Wolf Ouray Ice Festival, that grew into one of the largest and most unique climbing events in the country. Each January, the Ouray Ice Festival raises funds for the Ouray Ice Park’s annual operating capital. Since it started in 1995, the Festival has grown from more than 300 climbers its first year to approximately 3,500 in recent years. Competitive climbers from all over the world display breathtaking ascents for enthusiastic crowds.

It has been about 30 years since a few brave and creative souls discovered ice falls formed by overflow from Ouray’s water supply and began scaling them. The free-entry Park has become a climbing mecca with 200 established routes for those who wish to train or learn to climb vertical ice. Ouray Ice Park generally has been open mid-December through the end of March or beginning of April. Frozen waterfalls offer new challenges to even the most experienced mountain climbers. First-time climbers who are fit and gutsy can sign up for instruction and try the climb too. Not for the faint-hearted, ice climbing requires training and endurance, as well as specialized equipment. Local ice guides can provide instruction for new climbers in the art of waterfall ice climbing.

Ice climbing opportunities also have opened in several other areas of Colorado. For example, farther east, Lake City has become a popular ice-climbing locale, with a climbing park just a few blocks from downtown that’s open December to March. In winter Clear Creek Canyon offers ice climbers use of its sheer cliffs as their playground. Durango offers some spectacular ice climbs, from the East Animas and Cascade Creek routes to the more challenging Upper Haflin Falls. Durango was even the site of the Ice Climbing World Cup in 2016. Located close to Boulder, Hidden Falls is a top destination for ice climbers of all skill levels. Loch Vale Gorge climbing provides a medley of exciting climbs.

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