Ouray Ice Festival 2010
The fifteenth international Ice Festival took place in Ouray (USA) a fortnight ago. The event attracted thousands of ice climbers and the competition was won by Josh Wharton (USA) and Ines Papert (GER). Will Gadd from Canada climbed almost 8000m of vertical ice in a 24 hour non-stop marathon to raise funds for a charity. Ines Papert has the report.
"I missed out on Ouray, the world's largest ice climbing festival, in 2009. While I shivered through the night from 12 to 13 Januay bivving on a cold North Face in the Himalaya, my friends danced the night away in this small town in Colorado. I had hardly skipped a meet since 2003 and together with Rolf Eberhard I took the long flight to Denver, then continued on to Montrose and another hour's drive to reach the remote mountain village at almost 3000m altitude. We were greeted by a large banner with the words "Welcome Ice climbers"and once again thousands of ice climbing fanatics turned up to the event. One reason why people know me here... in 2005 I won the event, beating all the men. Almost everyone expected me to do the same again this year, except for myself. For various reasons I didn't have enough time to train properly.
The workshops held by famous climbers and alpinists such as Steve House proved extremely successful, as did the lectures by "Offwidth Expert" Andres Marin, ice climber Caroline Ware and climbing legend Steve House. The organisers gratefully received a five-digit check thanks to the generosity of the American climbers. The money is put to good use: every year the organisers offer something new for the climbers, such as last year's Kidswall, which enabled 160 kids to climb ice for the very first time.
One of the outstanding highlights this year was Will Gadd and his charity climb "Endless Ascent." He'd set himself the task to continuously climb a 40m WI4 route for 24 hours in an attempt to cover the distance from Everest Base Camp to the summit. Many spectators watched the show, even throughout the night. I supported Will early on Sunday morning at 6.00 am with a cup of hot coffee and croissant. He seemed tired, yet he didn't give up. Thanks to his incredible determination he climbed the route an incredible 194 times (feditor's note: or a total of 7760m, double his original goal!) and once again the American climbers responded generously with their donations for children in the Himalaya.
While all this was going on, so too was the competition. Vince Anderson had spent days setting a technical mixed route which translated into a 50m M9 with a sitstart :-) When it was my turn, I suddenly found myself beneath the finishing curtain. I heard the speaker's voice in the background, 5 minutes left. "Let's reach the top, speeding up a bit never hurt anyone" I thought as my pick hit the ice. But then it happened... the ice ripped unexpectedly and I found myself dangling on the rope. I was happy to have won the women's event, but a bit disappointed, too, as I placed 3rd overall.
People exchanged experiences and ideas, planned future expeditions and, sadly, bid farewell to Guy Lacelle who died recently. At times pain and grievance, dreams and luck lie so close together.
Results Ouray 2010
1. Josh Wharton
2. Sam Elias
3. Will Mayo
1. Ines Papert
2. Audrey Gariepy
3. Dawn Glanc