Showing posts with label Ouray. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ouray. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Keeping the Learning Edges Sharp

Scenes from the San Juan Mountains, site of the AMGA Ski Guide Course.
Heading to Ouray without ice tools in my bag stung like sharp shards coming off a misplaced swing on a bulletproof day. The wealth of ice climbing opportunities that this area of Colorado's North San Juan Mountain Range offers is well-known. Less well known—and as I would soon discover—is that the ski mountaineering options offered in the North San Juans is on par with the ice. I was headed out to explore those options, by way of the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Ski Guide Course (SGC). Having completed both the Alpine and Rock Guide certification programs a few years ago, I was interested in exploring the Ski Guide program with a eye toward International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA) certification (you must complete all three tracks for IFMGA certification), but approached it with a keener focus on keeping my learning edges sharp.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

New routes, ice festivals, and the search for winter!

Home on the range in the South Fork Valley
©Doug Shepherd
It was a crazy winter this year, from work to a weeks of 60-70F weather in Colorado.  The search for ice required some early mornings, driving, and crazy ideas - but that's what makes it fun!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Gone Ice Climbing

Erin Smart on Stairway to Heaven in Eureka, CO. Photo: David Moskowitz
“Ka-chunk” went my Nomics, all December long.
Shaking out the screaming barfies–my lingering song.
I enjoyed the ice, had I been wrong?
Back to Chamonix and ski season, where I belong.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Paradox Ice 2013

The Paradox Ice 2013 crew
In early March every year, a rowdy group descends on the Ouray Ice Park to celebrate the sport of ice climbing and hold a huge party.  The majority of climbers in this group have some sort of physical disability, ranging from stumpy fingers to missing limbs to partial paralysis.  For the past two years I've helped in any way I can to make this weekend a success and both times I've found myself barely keeping up with this amazing group of people.  Working with Paradox Sports is easily my favorite event of the year and I wanted to share some photos from the amazing event this past weekend.

The "stumpy" crew at the Ouray Brewery on the first night
Working on climbing without tools and trusting your feet
Sometimes standing in the snow is harder than the actual climbing
When you can't use your legs, you have to find new ways to move upwards.  Three tools (each with a rope tether and gri-gri) provide stability and upward motion here.
It also means you can recruit friends to rapidly transport you around the canyon
 Working out the kinks on the first time ice climbing with a new prosthetic leg that has a bicycle shock and a rubber "tendon" to draw the foot back
Testing out Mark Miller's swing-able ice axe prosthetic prototype
The guiding/rigging crew at the beginning of the second day
Catching a ride into the Ouray Ice Park at the start of the second day
Myself setting up the rappel and lowering lines into the Ouray Ice Park on the second day.  The alpine smart made my job of safely and smoothly getting everyone in and out of the canyon much easier.
Myself explaining the silliness that is mixed climbing
All smiles after her first mixed climb ever
A well loved and still kicking Mammut Neon Light pack
Andres Marin helping to perfect technique
Claudia Camila Lopez, one of the hardest working photographers out there
Another huge smile, this time after topping out his first ever ice lead

Doug Shepherd
Los Alamos, NM

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ouray Ice Festival 2013

Ouray Ice Park - Colorado
The 2013 Ouray Ice Festival in Colorado went off without a hitch thanks to our Mammut athletes and staff! Climbers world-wide attended the festival to celebrate the sport of ice climbing, learn tricks and tips from professional athletes and to watch some of the best mixed climbers in the world compete during the 18th annual event.
Box Canyon is where the Ouray magic happens - Andrea Charest on the mixed comp route
Mammut athletes, Andrea Charest and Whit Magro competed in both the Elite Mixed Climbing Competition and the Hari Berger Speed Climbing Comp. Both athletes also taught participants during daily clinics throughout the weekend!

Clinic participants gearing up in Vendor Row

Women's mixed climbing clinic with - Andrea Charest

Andrea Charest with her clinic participants
We had a great time meeting new friends and providing Mammut demo equipment for a large crowd of enthusiastic ice climbers.
Heather Lords kept folks engaged and entertained at the Mammut booth
... and with the occasional down time, we kept ourselves warm with Ambler Jackets and entertained with food and hot drinks at the Mammut booth in vendor row!
Steve Lloyd warming up a snack!
This was Andrea's first competition at the Ouray Ice Festival. Despite below zero temps and being the first athlete to attempt the route, she climbed strong and with confidence. I was psyched to see her compete so well!
Andrea Charest

Andrea calm and collected at -6 degrees Fahrenheit

Stylin' on the steeps!
Whit Magro also had a very strong run on the mixed comp route; easily picking up the 4th place title!
Mag-Daddy Whit Magro!

Right at home for Whit!

Whit sussing out the next section

Tough love with the Tuna Roll
The Speed climbing comp was a new addition this year to the Ouray Ice Festival. It provided a nice high-speed experience for athletes and spectators and was surely a home run addition to the festival!
Andrea Charest racing in the speed comp
By Sunday evening, Ouray Colorado was returning to a sleepy mountain town as many of the event participants and vendors headed home. It was easy to see the satisfaction on many faces from yet another spectacular Ouray Ice Festival. We'd like to thank all of the volunteers, participants and vendors who make the Ouray Ice Festival possible. Looking forward to 2014! We hope to see many of you return to Ouray next year!

~ Dean Lords

Friday, December 11, 2009

Ouray Ice Climbing and new Mammut Clothing!!!

Its been a pretty good early ice season this year, and with more snow in the mountains, routes should continue to grow. The Ouray Ice Park is scheduled to open a week early on Dec 12th. Conditions will be fantastic for the Festival starting Jan 8.. Come out and mingle with top climbers around the world, try gear, and get some good instruction.

I've been happily testing out some new pieces from Mammut this Autumn, and have come up with a few new favorites to add to the arsenal. As always the Tripod helmet is the most comfortable and easiest to use helmet on the market, period. Try one on at the fest, you will buy it and wear it everyday.

In the photo below, I'm starting up a somewhat funky first pitch of the classic Skylight climb. Campo Pants and Jasper Pull are a sweet combo for moderate protection and incredible movement.

This is on the Ames Ice Hose. There was a party on the ice already so we took some laps on the 5.9 rock pitch start. I'm sporting the Base Jump Pants (my everyday favorite for ice and alpine) and the new Extreme Baltoro Jacket. This jacket is great. Superb protection from dripping ice and howling wind, and stretches and climbs perfectly. Excellent for backcountry ice climbing and alpinism.

And finally the Direct North Face in South Mineral, another early season mandatory tune up climb. It was a gorgeous day so I went with the venerable Champ pants and Verglas Jacket.

Thanks to Mammut for all the sweet gear! All the SJMG guides are super-psyched on their uniforms this year. We went with the Extreme Baltoro and Stratus Flash pieces this year and they are excellent. Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!

Respectfully Submitted,
Clint Cook
San Juan Mountain Guides
Ouray, CO