I recently returned from Ouray, Colorado where I completed my AMGA Ice Instructor Course. New to the AMGA curriculum, the IIC will become a mandatory component of the Alpine discipline starting next year. Although not required, I chose to take the IIC before my Alpine Exam in September because out of all the disciplines, ice guiding is what I've done the least of.
We arrived in Ouray to cold temps (highs in the teens) and a lot of picked out ice. The Ouray Ice Festival had just wrapped up the weekend before with success, despite a late start to the season. Generally we had great conditions with warming temps (highs 34* in town) and a skiff of snow later in the week.
Ouray is the perfect venue for such a course with easy access to the Ice Park and lots of backcountry ice to choose from. We spent a couple half days in the park, but other then that we were climbing multi pitch ice within the Ouray/Silverton area. A big thanks goes out the instructors: Keith Garvey, Dale Remsberg, Doug Neidever and Peter Doucet for putting a good curriculum together and pulling off a great course!
The Ice Park.
Gary, totally gripped! They had some issues with the dam and we had high water in the Park throughout the week.
Chilling at the cave belay.
The approach to Whorehouse Hoses, which is just visible in the cliffs above the ski pole.
Heres the first pitch of Whorehouse Hoses WI4/5, 70 meters. I lead this pitch with two single ropes and a head cold... Hacking up a lung, I was worked.
Justin on the nice third pitch of Whorehouse.
Just beyond Whorehouse is Stairway to Heaven, a classic long route of Colorado Ice.
Here's some of our team on the last pitch of The Ribbon WI4+, 3 pitches.
And lastly, a wide angle view of The Ribbon (left) and Birdbrain Boulevard. If you zoom in you can see our party on The Ribbon and Vince Anderson and his client on Birdbrain.
Thanks to all the participants and Colorado for having such good ice!