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01/01/05 - 01/02/05
After two fabulous nights of Yonder Mtn String Band, Jean and I hopped in her Tahoe for the marathon drive to Ouray for a couple days of ice climbing to bring in the New Year. Rumor had it that the ice was in the best December-shape its been in for years! $9.50 of liquids during one stop and we were well on our way to shaking off the hangovers! Plenty of laughs, trivia, and stories along the way got us there in the late afternoon, just enough time for a couple quick climbs. We headed straight to the Schoolroom and set up a top rope. Unfortunately the 60M rope we borrowed was just over 50M! So we improvised and belayed from the top. It was Jean's first time ice climbing and I must say that she is quite the natural and a pro with ice tools and crampons! It was a fun climb to start off with and fueled our desire to climb more the next day! After some great food and beers we were fast asleep since the hot tub was out of commission from the partiers the night before.
Back to the Schoolroom in the morning! We tied two ropes together this time to assure that we could belay from the bottom of the canyon. A brisk wind was coming through all day from the storm on its way and we swapped a down jacket while belaying. This climb was quite the undertaking and started off with ~30ft of completely vertical before easing up a tiny bit. It was quite the challenge and didn't take long for some serious arm-burning. We were both able to get to the top and got several runs in before doing the 5hr drive back to Denver. It was a short stay in Ouray, but totally worth it and reminded me how much I love ice climbing! Also got Jean totally hooked (no pun intended) on the sport!

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03/12/04 - 03/14/04
Had to make the annual pilgrimage to Ouray again! Due to the recent warm weather there was a lot less ice this year. The first day we got soaked from water running down the ice since we didn't climb till the afternoon in the "South Park" section of the ice park. The next day we had great climbing in the morning at the "Schoolroom" then a failed attempt in "South Park" that afternoon. The route we tried to climb was nothing but overhanging icicles so after a couple jumps of a creek and a wet foot we were able to hike out a different way. Since we were so close, this year we brought along the skis and did a day at Telluride before a marathon drive home. Once again, the warm weather had some effect...felt like skiing on concrete in the morning and mashed potatoes in the afternoon. But hey, it's Telluride!! The place is absolutely HUGE and beautiful.

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02/28/03 - 03/02/03
Something that I've been wanting to do for a long time...ice climbing in Ouray Colorado, the "ice climbing capitol of the world". And it was everything that I've heard! In the fall and early winter they set up hoses at the edges of a canyon and spray water down the sides so it freezes into some damn fine frozen waterfalls. There are several areas and levels but we stuck to the "Schoolroom". The climbs we did were right around 100 vertical feet, the 60meter rope we used barely touched the bottom from the anchors above!
Having only ice climbed down in Cheyenne Canon with only one short bit of completely vertical ice, I was in for quite the surprise. These 100ft pitches of mostly vertical ice were quite the challenge! You bang your knees, can barely move your legs up the ice without being in awkward positions, and are constantly bombarded with ice chunks and snow in your face that your ice tools are knocking out. But man, was it great!


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