Once our local ice climbing opportunities ended when the snow finally started to fly, the Lake City Ice Park was the next easiest destination. Ethan was looking to go so we got up early and questioned our sanity as we rolled through Gunnison at 20 degrees below zero. Ice climbing is cold as it is, and we were heading out for a really cold one. Thankfully, the Lake City Ice Park is practically in town, so we could grab a hot meal or beverage in minutes if we got exceptionally cold. Surprisingly, it never got that bad despite the temps that undoubtedly stayed below zero most of the day, and we had a ton of fun at this awesome gem of an ice area. (Note: the park is free though you are required to sign a waiver at one of a few local businesses.)
The ice park got a bit of a late start this year, due to the warm temperatures in November, and then the hoses froze solid once it finally got cold. They were making ice when we were there, which limited our choices slightly, but it will be great in another week or so.
Me on a fun and aesthetic line:
Parts of the park get some sun- nice on a cold day and it made for some great light on Ethan:
Two more of me:
For our last lap, Ethan decided to lead this cool little gully system.
This is a great park on its own right, and even better when you consider the crowds that can form in Ouray. There is plenty of ice for a weekend, not to mention a ton of other ice in the area. One thing to keep in mind at this park is that you’ll want some static rope to reach from the anchors to the edge of the ice- also, some of these routes are quite long for a top-rope (Ethan’s 70 meter rope barely made it for some climbs.)
Need some gear? Backcountry.com has lots of ice gear, including static rope: