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The Largest Ice Festival In North America: Ouray Ice Festival Celebrates 20 Years

January 7th, 2015

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If you’ve never attended the largest ice climbing festival in North America, we can certainly give you a few reasons to come out for the 20th Annual Ouray Ice Fest. This celebration of ice climbing takes place in our beloved backyard of Southwest Colorado, January 8th-11th. Osprey Packs has been attending the Ouray Ice Festival for almost a decade and each year the festival manages to outshine the previous year with exceptional clinics from professional athletes, gear demos from over 20 sponsors, and, most importantly, awe-inspiring ice climbing competitions featuring top competitors from all over the world.

Ouray Festival Clinic

The park itself is an attraction worth seeing — for months preceding the festival, the Ouray Ice Park “Ice Farmers” have been cultivating immaculate, deep blue pillars of ice. The pillars stand a few hundred feet tall, towering above festival-goers in the small box canyon outside of Ouray. The stent of the ice-formed “hallways” provides over 200 ice climbing routes and makes a perfect playground for every ice climbing enthusiast, from skilled professional athletes to aspiring first-timers.

Need another reason to head to Ouray? How about demos from some of the top outdoor industry companies in the sport? Each day of the festival includes the opportunity to demo the latest and greatest from gear and apparel companies like Outdoor Research, Petzl, La Sportiva and of course, Osprey Packs! If you find gear that you like, you can test it out in one of the many clinics offered by San Juan Mountain Guides. All of the clinics offered during the Ouray Ice Festival are taught by world-class ice climbers and athletes, including Conrad Anker, Will Gadd, Kyle Dempster, and Osprey’s very own Ben Clark and Marcus Garcia!

After an exhilarating day of watching the competitions, testing gear and perfecting your ice techniques in the park, you’ll want to check out the additional events happening after-hours in the town of Ouray. There will be a celebratory kick-off on Thursday, a fashion show on Friday and “Prom Night” put on by Petzl on Saturday! Here’s a complete list of events.

 Osprey Packs will be located in the Gear Expo area just above the park and we will have several great on-site activities that you won’t want to miss:

Demo our packs: Whether you own an Osprey pack or in the market for a climbing pack, come try out our updated Mutant or Variant packs. Both of these provide unique features that can complete your ice climbing experience, whether it’s in the backcountry or at the park! 15_OurayIceFest_Demo_403x403

Win a pack! Take our 3 minute Event Survey and you will be entered to win an Osprey Packs Limited Edition Trip 20, ideal for multi-pitches, day-hikes and everything in between. We will select a winner each day of the festival at approximately 3 PM.

Fit Specialist on Site: Our staff are the cream of the crop when it comes to finding and fitting the perfect pack for you. Feel free to stop by and ask questions, geek out on our gear, or receive  advice on what is best for your upcoming travels, treks & endeavors.

20% off all Osprey Packs at Ouray Mountain Sports: It’s a “Win-Win” if you’ve found the right pack for you: after trying on and testing out a demo pack you’ll receive a 20% off the at local Osprey Packs retailer Ouray Mountain Sports, located conveniently in town.

Clinic With Osprey Athlete Marcus Garcia: San Juan Mountain Guides is a premiere guide company in Southwest Colorado and a longtime partner of Osprey Packs. SJMG works with top-tier athletes from all over the world to bring you the highest quality clinics and experiences. Maximize your experience at the Ouray Ice Festival by signing up for one of SJMG’s clinics, taking place Friday, Saturday and half of Sunday. Most of the clinics are full or filling up rapidly, but check out the remaining clinic, “Introduction to Ice Climbing” with Osprey Athlete and local CO legend, Marcus Garcia.

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Don’t delay — get your axe in gear and get to the

20th Anniversary of the Ouray Ice Festival! 

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Get your Axe into Gear, the Ouray Ice Festival is Here!

January 9th, 2014

What better way to kick off 2014 than with a few jitters, chattering teeth, and a full serving of adrenaline as you carefully choose where to swing your axe next??

That’s what will be happening in the little town of Ouray, Colorado, as people from all over the country travel to Ouray to participate in one of the largest ice festivals in the nation. This will be our 10th year attending and there are MANY reasons we keep coming back!

It will all kick off on Thursday night, January 9th, with presentations and delicious beers brewed in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. Read more…

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Dreams of Brown Moose: A Classic Alaska Ice Climb

November 14th, 2012

Joe Stock is a mountain guide and photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.

Dreams of Brown Moose is a classic early-season ice climb in the Portage Valley near Anchorage. This 500-foot, Water Ice IV route has the ingredients of a proper Alaska adventure with a bushwacking approach, dodgy thin ice, overflowing water and deathly avalanche terrain. I went with Sam Johnson, a life-long Alaska climber, artist and Ph.D candidate to give it a shot.

Read more…

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West To East, and A Dinner To Celebrate It

February 21st, 2012

The view of Mt. Washington 87 steps from my front door

A Call to Action for the American Alpine Club Annual Dinner, where climbing is climbing.

I’m practicing owning up to my origins. Colorado used to just roll off my tongue. New Hampshire? It’s clunky, it’s two words, and it takes explaining.

Contrary to what many presume from my quick speech and intense personality, I am not an easterner and never have been. Until now. In January Peter and I packed up the van and headed east. I’ve flirted with living in New Hampshire for the past three years (read more in my Go East Article in Alpinist Magazine). Now we’re going steady.

Read more…

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Munising and the Michigan Ice Fest 2012

February 10th, 2012

This past weekend Osprey Packs was happy to be a part of the Michigan Ice Fest in the incredible Upper Peninsula of Michigan. With basecamp set in Munising at Sydney’s Restaurant, the climbs start east of town stretching for the next 30+ miles along Lake Superior in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. More climbs than can be counted form every season, with more than one hundred forming in a good year. Some of these routes seep directly into the big lake or onto a wild new world of shelf ice once the lakeshore is frozen solid and you can walk on it below the 150 to 200-foot sandstone cliffs.

Read more…

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Friday Round Up: Welcome Back Winter

February 3rd, 2012

More from Kim Havell... shredding. Photo: Perpetual Weekend

Unless you’ve been living in a deep, dark cave… You may have noticed that there is a lot of cool stuff going on out there. So, we thought it was high-time we started rounding up some of our faves each week. We call it the Osprey Round Up… Happy Friday!

The season took its sweet time to come in this year, but it’s finally here. Over the last few weeks, mountains have been dusted and in many cases, pounded, with snow and waterfalls have frozen into walls of ice. We’ve got great plans for the next few days — skiing, ice climbing, cycling and hiking our way through this first weekend of February. A lot of great shots of people out enjoying the elements have come our way, so we thought it would be best to put together a quick photo gallery of our favorites to really kick the weekend off right.

Enjoy, and happy Friday!

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The Ouray Ice Festival Kicks Off January 5

January 3rd, 2012

The Ouray Ice Park is the world’s first ice climbing park and we’re lucky enough to have it right in our backyard. The Ouray Ice Festival kicks off this Thursday, a celebration of all things climbing and a competition attracting climbers from across globe.

Home to dozens of 80-to-200-foot waterfalls along a one-mile stretch of the Uncompahgre Gorge, climbing routes scatter the length of the park. Just looking at the series of frozen waterfalls is spectacular, and watching climbers make their way up the vertical ice sheets is an experience — not to mention getting on the ice yourself.

We’re excited as always to support this great event. If you’re planning on traveling to Ouray, here’s what we have in store for you…

  • Full selection of free pack demos.
  • Free professional onsite pack sizing and fittings.
  • Full display of all that is new for 2012.
  • Great giveaways and daily pack giveaways from the Ice Park booth.
  • Intro to Ice Clinics with osprey athlete Ben Clark.
  • Killer deals on Osprey Packs throughout the festival and beyond from local Osprey Retailer Ouray Mountain Sports.

Hope to see you there!

PHOTO via

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Changes in the Weather Bring Changes in the Soul

November 9th, 2011

Photo by Doug Hemken

The other day it snowed. That’s right, I got snowed on… It was cold and it was wet and it was miserable. I was on a rock climbing trip to the Red River Gorge for a long weekend of clipping bolts, pulling pockets and enjoying one last warm weather rock trip. All I wanted to do was bask in the sun, wear a t-shirt and cook breakfast on the camp stove without shivering.

I got snowed on… It was cold and it was wet and it was WONDERFUL! I forgot what it was like and my mind started to wander to other things. I dreamed of frozen waterfalls, deep snow,  groomed trails. I dreamed of waxing my skis and sharpening my ice picks. I dreamed of winter and what it will all bring.

The new season called winter is coming and I am excited for it!

Jon Jugenheimer is an Osprey sales rep with Ames Adventure Outfitters. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, is addicted to climbing and loves fried chicken.

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Successful Failure: A Rope, a Rack and an Osprey Pack on my Back

October 17th, 2011

Photo by Eric Dacus

The late summer brings me to the Teton Range every year to climb. By August the snow is usually gone, the sun is high and the rock is warm. One of the most popular routes on the Grand is the Exum Ridge. The moderate climb is a long aesthetic line high on the mountain that leads straight up  from the Lower Saddle to the summit. Last summer a few friends and I made an attempt to climb this route car-to-car. We decided to leave the valley floor to attempt to summit and get back to the car in time to grab a pizza at Dornans.

We left the trailhead at 3:30 a.m. and started up. It was a bit cold, but as long as we kept moving we were warm enough. A quick few hours later we saw the sun rise and light shine across the valley to explode on the side of Nez Perce. We made it up to the lower saddle just in time to see the guided groups coming down after a failed quick attempt. The problem was it rained hard the night before in the valley, so the whole mountain was covered in ice because of the cold at elevation. Lots and lots of ice…

Read more…

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Trifecta

March 26th, 2011

Ice Climbing, 1996 season, age 20. Ready for a seson switch?

In conjunction with OutsideTelevision.com

It’s spring. It’s time to emerge from winter. It’s time, for me, to stop wearing long underwear. This is hard, because I have been wearing the same pair all winter long. One pair. It’s been easier this way. This wooly bottom/top combination has swathed me while I swung at ice in Montana, Wyoming, Ouray, Michigan, New Hampshire and Vail, throughout a dozen journeys to ice climb this winter.

But on Monday I am headed to a tropical island with daytime highs in the 90’s. I keep putting those long-underwear into my luggage, right by my second bikini, and keep taking them out. This—not the rope, quickdraws, or bolts—will be what gets me flagged as a suspicious suspect in customs. It’s time to move on.

I am a grudging participant in the multi-sport revolution. I live in Boulder, and my opposition is thus poorly chosen. Boulderites switch deftly between a morning ski, an afternoon mountain bike, and an evening climb of the flatiron by headlamp. Over the past six years of living here I have learned that I am good for a two-fer, but that the trifecta continues to allude me. It’s therefore time for new rules.

1: Rollerblading is a sport.

2. Hula hooping counts.

Work with me. Wait—hold on. I just hula hooped. It’s 7 am and I’ve already got one sport down.

Island Bound

I’ve always secretly thought that the tri-sport addicts were ostentatious athletes in need of showcasing their talents on a revolving basis. But now I’m starting to understand that we might add a sport to be bad at a sport. The good part about this rational is also that the more you do it, the more tired you are, and the more chances you thus have for mediocrity at more sports, and thus you have more and more motivation to get better.

This is why this spring, I am embracing the multi-sport lifestyle. In part I am doing this because I got too good at packing for ice climbing, and it seems that my clutch pair of long underwear are permanently forged in the shape of my body. Something needs to shake loose. So I will travel to sport climb and then come back and slide into the wool to go and ski in Canada’s Adamants when I return. I will change my cadence and see if I can keep up. Maybe this is why we have seasons—why the sun, wind and precipitation force us to make different decisions throughout the year. We can cheat the system by hopping on a plane and chasing the sameness in our lives. But eventually we will get a window seat and fly over snowy mountains when we’re pursuing summer’s permanence, or sunny beaches when we’re hot on winter’s tail. Eventually we will want to try our hand at it all. But to do this, we sometimes have to be willing to try more than one at a time.

I’m making the move, but maybe not how you’d expect. The long underwear are not island-bound. I’ve taken them out to make room for the hula-hoop. I’ve got climbing and hula-hooping, guaranteed in the next week. I just need my third sport. Right now, I’m betting on salsa dancing.

Read More at www.majkaburhardt.com

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