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Rock and Ice Photo Camp 2014 - Delaney Miller

 
Rock and Ice Photo Camp 2014 - Delaney Miller
Rock and Ice Photo Camp 2014 - Delaney Miller
 
July 01, 2014 -  Delaney Miller    
 

This year’s Rock and Ice photo camp was another great experience! It took place in Ouray, Colorado; a small, aged town located about 70 miles north of Durango. Despite the town’s rep for being an ice climbing location, the rock was vey positive. The walls were fresh with good movements and plenty of flow.  I was totally shocked by how well all the routes progressed and yet how very little traffic they received. From the understated crags to the bustling hot springs, Ouray’s charm was noticed by climbers and photography students alike.

 

This year’s Rock and Ice photo camp was another great experience! It took place in Ouray, Colorado; a small, aged town located about 70 miles north of Durango. Despite the town’s rep for being an ice climbing location, the rock was vey positive. The walls were fresh with good movements and plenty of flow.  I was totally shocked by how well all the routes progressed and yet how very little traffic they received. From the understated crags to the bustling hot springs, Ouray’s charm was noticed by climbers and photography students alike.

On the first day, we headed up to Rotary Wall. It’s a very accessible wall located right off the road, complete with picnic tables and public restrooms. I did a few warm ups while the students prepped and then climbed a couple of twelves. One of the 5.12s was Circular Semantics, a route that's perched above a short 5.8 scramble. I was a bit skeptical when I first scoped it out. It appeared to have some stiff moves and sketchy throws. I was surprised, however, to find the route offered a few exceptional sloppers and a funky, yet solid knee scum at the top. The students took turns jugging up and snapping photos, while I ended up doing the route about 4 times. I was psyched for the repeats, which is a true testament to the quality of route. As the trip continued, I found that Ouray is full of likewise impressive routes. 

On the second day we went to an underdeveloped bouldering spot up the mountain. I’ve bouldered outside about three times in my life, so I was a bit disappointed to not be sport climbing. Duane had my back as he offered to show me a freshly bolted route nearby. Of course, I was down to ditch the pads for some draws, as was Aicacia Young, another Five Ten athlete. The three of us grabbed some students and headed over to the wall. "The wall" turned out to be more of a highball boulder with four bolts to the top. I'm not sure what it was called, but it turned out to be just as stellar as everything else. The students got some good shots, so it was a successful detour! When were done with the route and the other climbers had finished bouldering, so we moved on to the Pool wall. By then, it was too bright for the students to get any good shots, so we just scoped out the routes, put some gear up for the next morning, and headed down to the hot springs!

By the third day, we were getting tired from sleeping on hard beds and being in the sun (not to mention constantly having a reflector on you). I was disappointed it was the last day, but also a bit relieved. We headed back to the Pool wall and I set up to do a sweet 13 on an arête. Without a doubt, this was the best the climb of the trip. It was 5 bolts, 40ft, and at about a 30 degree angle. The route began with some sharp credit card crimps that led to a jug, and then you had to use a series of side-pulls and sloppers to work your way up. Near the top, I found a sick toe hook that made a spicy move much sweeter. I’m not sure what the route was called, since it was not in the guidebook, but perhaps if a picture of it comes up in the Rock and Ice issue it will be identified!

Ouray was great, the rock was great, and the students and instructors were amazing! Thanks to Five Ten, adidas Outdoor, and Petzl for making it possible!!! I can’t wait for next year!

 

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