Every January since 1996, adventurous rock and ice climbers congregate at the Ouray Ice Festival. The festival takes place in Ouray, Colorado at the famous Ouray Ice Park. Touted as the Biggest Ice Climbing Festival in North America, independent athletes from all over the world gather to pump their arms, burn out their quads and stress their minds in a series of highly skilled competitive events.
This year’s festival is once again sponsored by Asolo and Rock & Ice Magazine and runs from January 9th through 12th. Highlights include slacklining, an Elite Mixed Climbing Competition on Saturday and the Hari Berger Speed Climbing Competition on Sunday. There will be over $16,000 in prize money up for grabs.
The Ouray Ice Park is located in the Uncompahgre Gorge at the edge of a historically intact mountain town making this a wonderful event for spectators. 3,000 people are expected to attend.
Tip: Ouray is located about 5 miles north of Red Mountain Pass on Highway 550 aka the Million Dollar highway, one of the most avalanche prone roads in the entire state. The two lane road carves its way through a mountain pass framed with over 101 avalanche chutes between Ouray and Silverton. This region of Colorado is stunning year round but requires particular care when traveling between November and April. The road has claimed numerous lives with frequent avalanches. Don’t attempt your visit without 4 wheel drive, warm clothes, emergency supplies and good attitude. Be safe and get ready for Colorado’s winter beauty.