I'm looking to drive down to the ice fest this year for the first time and I had some questions for folks that have attended before on regards to the clinics and the general climbing opportunities available. Unfortunately I registered late for some clinics but did manage to signup for two all day clinics on the first two days, not the clinics I would have wanted but beggars can't be choosers.
I would like to know how likely it is that I will be able to find people to climb with once I am there. Having been to other climbing festivals I presume that this may not be a problem but after calling and speaking with the SJ mountain guide folks they mentioned that most of the park is pretty much reserved for the clinics so I would be hard pressed to find available areas to climb that are not being used, specially since I don't know the area at all. However, looking at the schedule for the festival here: ourayicepark.com/schedule/ I notice that each day there is a "Free Adult Walk-up clinic" I am curious to know how that works. I have an opportunity to sign up for yet another clinic with a full day of climbing on Saturday but if a "free walk-up" clinic is already being offered I wonder if I should just save myself the $120 and go to that instead.
Ideally I would like to get some instructions for two days and then have an opportunity to try this stuff out on my own with other folks that I may meet at the festival. Any suggestions?
A full day of guided climbing for $120 is a way better deal than the free walk-up clinic. The walkup clinic just gives you a taste of climbing on a short wall. Depending on how crowded it is you may or may not be able to run a few laps (but you'll have to wait for your turn, turn in your gear etc...)
Not all the routes in the park get filled up with clinics, but you really need to know your way around the park to find open routes.