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Have an "Ice" Day

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In Colorado, the splendor and beauty of the outdoors is what makes it a haven for those who live for outdoor adventure. For most folks though, the winter months entail days and evenings by a cozy fire rather than an opportunity for exploration.

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Now, you may be wondering, “What is there to do when all the Jeep trails are covered in snow?” Well, I’ve got just the sport for you…ice climbing! Yes, that’s right: Ice isn’t just something you put in your drink to keep it cold; it’s an unlimited adventure just waiting for you to sink your crampons into.

Colorado’s mountain Jeep trails are packed with areas nestled near amazing waterfalls that are absolutely breathtaking. During the winter months, when the temperature drops and the snow starts falling, those very same waterfalls turn to ice and can be several hundred feet tall. As a matter of fact, in most mountain areas throughout the country, ice forms as early as October and can last well into April making for a long season of ice climbing fun that’s easily enjoyed with the proper equipment and technique.

In recent years, ice climbing has become very popular in areas that were once only known for their amazing summer time rock climbing. Ouray, Colorado, known for its outdoor adventuring, is now world renowned for its amazing ice park. The Uncompahgre Gorge, which cuts through the south end of town and is within the San Juan Mountains, has several naturally occurring waterfalls that provide unlimited ice routes during the winter. Recently, these waterfalls have been supplemented by “farmed” ice, which is a process of pumping water through hoses and pipes and then spilling it over the rim to form icefalls. Some of these icefalls can be close to two hundred feet tall and overhanging in spots to accommodate even the most experienced of climbers. Every year, Ouray hosts an annual Ice Festival in which climbers come from all over the world to compete in various events and participate in demonstrations.

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