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Ouray at Christmas/New Years?

Original Post
Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 162

Does anyone have experience at the Ice Park on or around Christmas and/or New Years?

Not sure if it's dead quiet due to the holiday, or full of people taking advantage of the time off and avoiding their in-laws.

Considering a trip to get the season started, but it would be a bummer to show up and have the place be mobbed. The holidays are both on Sundays this year too, which may not help...

Tony A. Davis · · Golden, Colorado · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 160

Spent several Christmas's there but it has been 10 years ago. Then it was very quiet and no crowds. Maybe someone with more recent experience could chime in.

Skik2000 · · Boulder · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 5

I've gone the last 2 NYE and it is insanely crowded. Like every possible route that is open has a rope on it

Christian George · · Ridgway CO · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 0

It's ice climbing, early bird gets the worm.

Besides, you don't go to the park for a feeling of solitude.

It's a training ground, go with that mindset.
So when a scruffy old dude tells you you should drop your heels, don't be all "whatever old dude, I'm effing rad" you never know who he might be.

I enjoy the people I meet at the park.
If you want an icefall all to yourself, you gotta hike...
And these days you also have to post online the day before you go that it hasn't formed yet, then leave a note at the trailhead warning people that you are teaching a bunch of beginners and will be bashing the crap out of it all day.
Just a few of last years ideas for ya to ponder.

BTW, getting the feeling it's going to be an early and cold winter here.

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 162

Thanks Christian, that's super helpful. I had no idea I could set an alarm clock, and I thought that the ice park was guaranteed to be a place of solitude.

For those of you who actually answered the question, thanks. It sounds like NYE is a good time to stay away, that's helpful. Would be interested in hearing if anyone's been there around Christmas lately, as that's looking like a good candidate.

Christian George · · Ridgway CO · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 0

It's often not open by then, so I would be reluctant to plan a trip then.

Sorry you didn't like my reply, I live in the area and was just trying to impart that there are good times to be had, even when it seems "crowded".

But if you want to take a snippy stance on it...
Ya dude, it's holiday season at the most popular, easy access ice in the world, it might be a bit more crowded than you may like.

Mike Berkow · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2008 · Points: 5

My wife and I have been going over that time for years. Most years it is crowded but if you get up early, you will get on a climb. Last year was such a shitshow, with so little open and people hanging multiple ropes, then not using them, that we are considering changing the dates for our trip, or skipping Ouray entirely. On New Years Eve, I counted 80 people in line to enter the park at 8:00 AM with something like 30 available lines to climb, then listened to some group leader spray on with pride about how he grabbed 5 lines and that he would be happy to pull one of the unused ones so someone else could climb.

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 162

Mike, are you referring to New Years only, or Christmas too?

My thought was that at Christmas most folks may have "family obligations," but I don't know if it actually works out like that.

Christian, I appreciate the "pro tip" that places are less busy if you get up early, I never thought of that.

webdog · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 0

I've been once on a Tuesday/Wednesday. Got there at @ 10 am on Tuesday. Guides would get to the park and drop lines before the park opened and go back and have breakfast w clients. Every single line that could reasonably be TR'd was taken by 10am. The next day we went in as the park opened and had relative peace for a couple hours. I can't imagine what a gong show a holiday weekend would be. If I lead WI5 then I would have had free lines but if I lead WI5 I'd rather tackle backcountry stuff

Mike Berkow · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2008 · Points: 5

We did Christmas for 10 or so years, but it seems that less and less of the park was open on Christmas day due to warm weather. That being said, Christmas morning is a fantastic day to be in the park, we would often have it to ourselves for a few hours. We decided to roll our trip back to New Years a few years back mostly so that more ice would be available to climb, New Years morning is dead, but not as dead as Christmas day. Last year however was just bad, all that was open was the School Room, Kids Wall and New Funteer. Not enough ice for the number of people trying to climb.

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 162

Thanks guys!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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