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#26085 - 11/29/06 09:05 PM ouray
learningtolead Offline
old hand

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 981
Loc: a wanna be kerhonkson-er
anyone been there? have recommendations of where to stay and where or what to climb? i'd like to see the park but also avoid some of the craziness. all info is welcome. we're looking at being there for three or four days in january.

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#26086 - 11/29/06 10:15 PM Re: ouray [Re: learningtolead]
DavidLewis Offline
stranger

Registered: 11/22/04
Posts: 8
Loc: New Jersey (Northern)
The hotel that we stayed at is right on the Ice Park and you can walk in via a foot road behind the hotel.Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs (800)327-5080 or (970)325-4981. You need to make reservations as soon as possible as they sell out often during ice season. There are natural hot springs on the property that feed into wooden hot tubs (great for after a long day of climbing).You can buy a membership pass for the group at the hotel for $40. I highly reccomend purchasing a pass to help the park offset costs. The pass entitles you to a discount at the hotel and most restaurants in town which are also within walking distance of the hotel. The membership pass will pay for itself. The town has a western theme to it and you feel as if Butch Cassidy and Sundance could roll into town at any moment. The retaurants and stores are good as is the excellent climbing shop.
It is hard to have any given climbing area to yourself with the popularity of the ice park.South Park is your best bet to get away from most people. You will get a climbing guide with your membership. If you want to lead a good WI4 give Pic O Vic a try which I believe is located in the Alcove area. If you are setting up top ropes bring long webbing as some of the chain anchors are located 20-30 feet back from the climb.
Telluride is under 2 hours from Ouray and their icy ski conditions are considered packed powder back East. If you can, stay at least a whole week to do all that is available.

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#26087 - 11/29/06 10:30 PM Re: ouray [Re: learningtolead]
webmaster Offline

veteran

Registered: 01/06/00
Posts: 1273
Loc: New Paltz (Kerhonkson, actuall...
I climbed there about 3 years ago. It was a blast. The town, back then, seems to have been growing to accommodate the growing influx of climbers, so I think you'll find it quite different. The routes there are impossibly long, and you'll be wondering how your arms could every be strong enough to climb these routes. But after a few days, you should only need 3 rests to get to the top of a pitch.

We stayed at a motel in town that was nice: Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs. It had outdoor hot tubs that were fed by underground springs. I was so tired at the end of most days, that it really didn't matter where I was sleeping! But this motel was totally adequate.

The year we were there, restaurants in town were pretty weak. If given the chance to do it again, I would have tried to rent an apartment and cook for myself. Though I am a bit of a food snob, the restaurants were like fast food with a single "pub"--gets tired pretty quick. The other thing about Ouray is that it is remote. You want to bring everything you need, because it's a long drive to the surrounding towns.

The climbing, as I said, is a lot of fun, but it's a much better experience if you're willing to lead, rather than top rope. The top roped routes in the "park" get pretty well traveled, and I found myself placing my picks more often then swinging for a placement (and still wore my arms out!). Fortunately, one of our group was leading, which allowed us to head out to other climbs around the Ouray area that were virgin and impressive.

On our "off" day, we drove over a very scary mountain pass at 5am to Silverton, which is just north of Durango, and south of Ouray. It's a guided ski resort, which means that there's only one lift, and only about 60 people ski the area per day. The slopes there are incredibly steep, but the powder is avalanched in every day. The rate was about $120 for the day and was really worth it to lay fresh tracks every day. I was only able to ski a half dozen runs before I was totally whooped, but then again, I hadn't been on skis in 5 years, so I considered survival as a victory in this terrain.

If there's any other info you'd like me to try to dig up, by all means, please let me know.
_________________________
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webmaster@gunks.com
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#26088 - 11/30/06 09:56 PM Re: ouray [Re: webmaster]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
Climb there probably 6-8x a year there nowadays. The Victorian Inn in close but fairly expensive. Riverside Inn on the edge of town (past the hotsprings) is good and cheap. There are a bunch of places on main street. Checkout www.ouraycolorado.com/lodging or www.ouraylodging.com. Within the park it may be difficult to get anything for yourself (except the "Lead Only Area" which is what it is, with climbs starting at WI4/5.

If you only climb in the park, bring one rope just to rap in on, along with your lead rope. It (the rap rope) will go into the creek down below and it will always be wet. Carry your lead rope on your back on the way down.

Outside of the lead area use caution leading since yahoos will thro ropes down on your head. Signify that you are on a certain route by placing your packs at the top and place webbing on the rap for that route, and you may still have someone throw a toprope down on your head (has happened to me a couple of times)

There is good climbing nearby. Just past the park going up the road for a few miles (4wd helps) is Camp Bird. Climbs tend to be long one pitch and 2 pitches. All are really good fun and most are in the WI4/5 range for ice climbs and M5 to M10 for mixed. VERY good fun. Choppos Chimney is good as is Slippery When Wey and one near the start of the routes (protected by a chockstone which protects with a yellow camalot.....name is excaping me....

If you want to really get away from it all go down to Silverton, and drive back to Stairway to Heaven. Whereas Stairway to Heaven may be busy, usually Whorehouse Hoses and GoldRush (both easy WI5 depending on conditions) are VERY good. There are a couple of other easy gullies Gullies 2 and 3 that are very easy and are around 800ft long (WI2/3 even though the guidebook says WI3 and 4 respectively). Be VERY careful of avalanche conditions back here. Check the avi forcast and have a good understanding of avalanche prediction and rescue back in this area. Last year I backed off a route that I soloed past someone due to a tremendous slab pack just before the last pitch, whereas a group of people with no training decided that ignorance is bliss..... Snowshoes or skiis will aid on the approach since the snowpack can be deep and powder.

And buy a membership to the park.... The town works REALLY hard to make it a world class place

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#26089 - 11/30/06 10:07 PM Re: ouray [Re: learningtolead]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
PS: If you need someone to show you around, drop me a line. I'll be up there the weekend of Dec 16, a couple days over Christmas, maybe the week after the New Years, and hoping to get up there over other weekend or every third weekend, excluding the Ice festival weekend, through Feb.

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#26090 - 12/01/06 02:14 AM Re: ouray [Re: Chas]
cfa Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 07/23/02
Posts: 259
Loc: Upper Valley NH
I've been there once or twice a year for the past three years or so. Ditto on what everyone said. About ropes, some people just like to bring one 70, which helps with some of the problems of belaying right under everyone's ice fall and/or in the water, depending on the climb. The cheapest places I've stayed have been the Comfort Inn and Ouray Chalet Inn (can usually get something around 55/night). I just the other day made a reservation for the latter, for opening weekend, not too far off, so places can be had. It's a very small town, and pretty much everything is walkable to the ice park. If you don't like crowds, make sure to avoid the ice fest in Jan. Conditions for both the park and the backcountry climbs can be read here: Skyward Mountaineering and good avy info can be had here: Colorado Avalanche Information (click on Southern Mountains).

Also, while I agree that it's good to lead, I'm not much of a leader myself and have usually been able to swing (i.e., not place in other people's pick holes) to my heart's content. (Obviously this is subject to whatever conditions and crowds are prior to your getting there.) I'm especially fond of the long topropes right by the bridge.

Evan's right about the food. Not so great quality and overpriced, although I haven't been to EVERY restaurant in town. If anyone has any faves, please recommend here! If you're driving from Montrose or Denver airports, do your grocery shopping in Montrose on your way in.

Your motel may have a hot tub, as many do, but the Hot Springs are awesome! Go at night, after the sun's gone down.

I'll be there climbing Dec 15/16/17 (park doesn't open until the 16th, so we're hoping for backcountry on the 15th) and skiing the 18 and 19, if any of you all will be there and want to grab a beer or something, PM me.

-Carissa

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#26091 - 12/01/06 01:59 PM Re: ouray [Re: cfa]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
Carissa, I'll bet there 15/16/17 and will probably be more in the backcountry climbing depending on avi conditions. But always like hooking up with climbers from all over (I'll probably be climbing with a friend from Durango).

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#26092 - 12/05/06 02:31 AM Re: ouray [Re: Chas]
cfa Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 07/23/02
Posts: 259
Loc: Upper Valley NH
Great! Check your PMs.
-Carissa

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#26093 - 12/05/06 04:37 PM Re: ouray [Re: learningtolead]
Tai Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 290
Loc: Middle of nowhere: South Salem...
I'll be there for the festival, January 11-16, staying at an inn right in town. Crowds, yes, but... *shrug* Saves on renting a car.

T
_________________________
Fortis est veritas

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#26094 - 12/12/06 12:20 AM Re: ouray [Re: Tai]
jdw Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 03/25/01
Posts: 219
Loc: Connecticut
Any suggestions for getting Ouray cheaply? Cheap airfare? Cheap car rental?

Is ground transportation from/to the airport possible to avoid the expense of renting a car?

Maybe I'll just do a 30 hour road trip :-)

Thanks,

JDW

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