We had an awesome family day out at the Ouray Ice Park yesterday, Dec. 26, 2010. It was just the second day the park has been open this season (due to warm weather). The Park was packed full of climbers who were chomping at the bit to get some mileage on the ice, despite the fact that the only area open was the School Room. It was one of those kick-ass days that I”ll never ever forget for several reasons. …
First, I don”t get out on the ice as much as I”d like too. Ice is one of my very favorite climbing disciplines and I”ve had many of my best mountain memories from this sport. It was great to get out and swing the tools, and to feel confident that I”m really not too decrepit and old to climb. I actually remembered some technique (but need more!). The conditions in the Ice Park”s School Room (the only area open aside from the Kid”s Climbing College area) were pretty much hero. Plastic ice that readily accepted placements, hooking galore, it was SO much fun! With the traffic there were the expected large flying ice chunks, but while we were there it was completely fine and safe for climbing and belaying. The ladders were in over the river and there were many routes in.
Second, it was the first time The Husband and I were able to take our 8-year-old son out to do some routes. We were able to do this because of the free Kid”s Climbing College at the Ice Park (thanks to Clint and Bill for the gear set up for our son and for the awesome guides and volunteers out for the day ensuring the future of our sport). We also want to say thanks to Mel, partner of Erin Eddy, who bravely took in our 5-year-old daughter with two of her kids (we had the third with us in the Park), enabling us to get out and get some climbing in.
Watching our son climb was like nothing I”ve ever experienced before; I felt like crying, laughing, throwing up (yes, I am a worrier). … It was exhilarating and made climbing ice seem new again! He was a natural and made the process of climbing ice seem more like playing (which is exactly what it should be like! Tobin ended up climbing pretty far up the route under anchor 5.