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Calling all Colorado Ice Climbers
Submitted By: John McNamee on Nov 18, 2011

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There have been very preliminary talks with the Town of Frisco trying to convince them that constructing an ice wall at the Peninsula Recreation Area is a good idea. When the PRA was expanded a few years, one of the possible ideas on the table was a man-made ice climbing area. Not surprisingly, the idea didn't receive much support from Frisco residents and it didn't move forward.

The Town has asked about construction costs, as well as operational and maintenance costs. I, for one, would be stoked to see something like this constructed in town and would absolutely volunteer my time to help build it. If we got enough volunteers, I think we could keep the construction costs pretty low and the O&M costs should be pretty minimal as well (just the cost of some water and replacing hoses if they freeze/burst).

I wanted to reach out to the CO ice climbing community to see if you folks:

A.) Would like to see something like this built in Summit County
B.) Would be interested in volunteering labor or materials
C.) Have experience in building man-made ice structures (I have already searched all the old forums and have a decent idea of how to build it, but nothing beats actual experience building these)
D.) All of the above


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Comments on Calling all Colorado Ice Climbers Add Comment
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 23, 2011
By rockclimber50
Nov 18, 2011
I think that this should definitely go through. We need more ice in this state, especially when the weather doesn't cooperate.
I would be willing to volunteer labor.
Keep posting updates, would love to hear how this develops.
By Andy Maguire
From: Estes park, CO
Nov 19, 2011
I would certainly volunteer time and have access to a lot of miscellaneous plumbing supplies as well as wholesale construction accounts. Keep us posted!
By Brian Pappas
From: silverthorne CO
Nov 19, 2011
Would be happy to put in some time for the build.
By JPVallone
Nov 19, 2011
I'd volunteer as long as I am not in France.

Or we could farm some Ice on Royal too! But I will probably be in France!

Other questions though: Who funds it? How many would actually use it? Would people in this community really pay for it? We can hardly get people to join the rock gym up here and help support an amazing resource. Most the climbers I know won't join because they think it's too expensive or they are too cheap, but ironically most of them buy worthless rec center passes. The Silverthorne rec center has made it clear that they don't give a $h!t about climbers. The town of Silverthorne is on its third Rock Gym in 15 years. AK rock gym was awesome, it went under and was owned and operated by a very core climber. Had some wonderful days in that warehouse. Red Mountain got driven out and was an amazing family of friends and new growth in our small climbing community. The owners were awesome, and the routes and facility was world class. Big Horn greed drove them out of there through sky rocket rent and a lack of interest in the business. The building stayed dormant for 5 years with rolls of carpet occupying those dark walls. Silverthorne rec center and the town had no interest in helping out. Now it is round 2 at red mountain , now chizzled and it is amazing to see holds on those walls again and the community back in there having fun. The owner is wonderful and going for it. It's like a Red Mountain reunion for the folks that do take advantage of this amazing resource. It really is just the same old folks from back in the day, but I hope to see that change.

The climbing community in this town is not really that big, and the majority of the people that do climb up here do it on a recreational level. Half the climbers I know up here complain when they go to climbing areas and have to pay for day use permits or nice camping with fire ring, tables, bathrooms and water, and would rather dirtball it.

So I guess my big question is who is the market and are they gonna pay to use this. Would it attract tourists on ski vacation?

Really what type of costs are we talking about, maintenance and construction? Insurance liability policies? Is there a membership, a pay as you go? How static will the structure be in regards to changing the shape of the ice? Employees, what do they get paid, or are you going to count on a volunteer manager and workers?

Sounds awesome, I would come play for a convenient pump, but really is it sustainable? Just thinking rationally here. I think it sounds fun and potentially will help grow the small climbing scene up here.

My 2 cents
By s.price
From: PS,CO
Nov 19, 2011
Hope you all can work it out. Buy seriously, Laura, we "need more ice in this state"? I've been climbing in CO for over 30 years and have barely touched the amount of real ice we have here. More commitiment and adventure will reward you with a lifetime of ice.
By Tony T.
From: Denver, CO
Nov 20, 2011
I agree with S.Price. There is plenty of a ice in CO. Yeah, approaches are taxing, but it's part of the game. While it would be neat to have a farmed ice park (e.g. Ouray) near the Front Range, a climbing-gym-esque ice wall would be a little less than ideal.

If you could figure out a way to divert a natural water source and farm ice, I would wholeheartedly support you!

Good luck though. I'm sure you'll find support.
By Reid Kalmus
From: Breckenridge, Colorado
Nov 22, 2011
Hello Colin!!
I live in Breck and would love to help out on this project! I have been wanting to do this for years!! I love ice climbing and giving back to our community. Please call me or better yet text me @ (719) 323-4039. Let's get together for some coffee and see what I can do to help out. Oh yeah, Laura, there is ice everywhere, climb along I-70 if you don't feel like walking ;)

By jack roberts
Nov 22, 2011
This might be a good idea or it might just have a negative impact on the sport. If you increase the number of participants without increasing proportionally the resources that will be needed to accommodate the increase in numbers of climbers, then the new wall just creates more problems. Not saying this is a bad idea, just one that requires careful planning. There is a ton of ice out there if people are willing to walk further than 30 minutes....
By Wally
From: Denver
Nov 22, 2011
S. Price and Tony T. - I am going to side with Laura on this one, hands down. There is way more demand than supply of ice in Colorado. A few years ago a buddy and I showed up at Alexander's at first light, and we were the fourth party vying for that route. The Skylight area on a popular weekend is pretty darn busy. Ouray it seems you can always find WI4 and WI5 leads, but still it can get pretty crazy busy. Ames on the weekend is a total crap shoot - even if you set the alarm for 3 am.

Contrast Colorado ice with Cody - not much further of a drive from Denver. The supply demand curve much more favorable at Cody - and the climbing there is incredible.

A Summit County ice park would be very popular with Front Range ice climbers - certainly a much more reasonable drive than Ouray / Telluride. An awesome idea.

Yes, I would volunteer time.

By jack roberts
Nov 22, 2011
How big would this ice park be? How many routes would be established and how many climbers could all climb at the same time? I have no idea about how large this facility might be.
By Dinzy
From: Dillon, CO
Nov 22, 2011
Thank you all for your valuable input. It's great to see so many of you interested in this endeavor. The idea is still very preliminary, but I have a sit-down meeting with the Town next week, and I will present some various sketches of what this thing could look like. At this point, I don't have answers to most of your questions. I'm mostly trying to get the Town excited about the idea. If they are interested, then the next step would be to come up with some design drawings and logistical plans. At that point, I would love to sit down with some of you and get further feedback on what you would like to see.
By JPVallone
Nov 23, 2011
Sorry Laura and Wally, I have to agree with the folks in here. Tons of ice in Colorado, and more then a lifetime's worth for most. How adventurous are you? I just found this flow on Monday. So close to home and I never knew it, I can't find any documentation on it anywhere. In addition to this, I have found two new flows I have never seen before just from driving in new places all in the last week.

If it is crowding and lack of space a the crags that you feel is a problem in the limited places you may climb, then I can't imagine why this structure or wall would be any different. Many questions and research should be addressed. I am not opposed to the idea, but I do see more of the negatives than the positives. Short of creating a Ouray style ice park, which we don't have the logistical layout for, which truly could be an attraction, I just don't see the sustainability in the idea, but what exactly will this thing be anyway? Sure I agree, anything in the area that could compare to Ouray would be amazing, but let's be realistic, what kind of a park are we talking about? Since this is my home part of the year, unfortunately not in the winter, I would still be happy to help however I could if it truly had a sustainable plan.

Let's just trench a huge gorge right through the middle of town and start pouring water down the walls, LOL!

It's everywhere!

Thirsty for a firsty?

Rock Climbing Photo: Ice.

Rock Climbing Photo: Ice.

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Rock Climbing Photo: Ice.