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I'm just happy to be here

My name is Brian Monetti, and I enjoy having fun. If you want to join on the next adventure, shoot me an email at brianmonetti@gmail.com 

Ouray

Ouray

Record warm temperatures on the East Coast meant that I either needed to travel far north or far west to get on any quality ice this season. Ouray Colorado, one of the premier ice climbing destinations in the world, was the perfect choice. The town features a gorge with farmed ice called the Ouray Ice Park, and the San Juan mountains hold hundreds of backcountry routes. Jeff was also in the area guiding, so it was the perfect time and place for an adventure!

We spent our first day climbing in the ice park, which is basically the Gunks Uberfall but made of ice. A thousand vertical feet of climbing later I was pretty worn out, but feeling pretty confident considering I hadn't swung a tool in almost a year!

 Running laps on 100' topropes. A great way to get mileage in.

Running laps on 100' topropes. A great way to get mileage in.

 Topping out sure beats walking out of the gorge

Topping out sure beats walking out of the gorge

 Jeff at the top of the gorge. The metal piping is used to farm the ice each night.

Jeff at the top of the gorge. The metal piping is used to farm the ice each night.

 One of the climbers hangouts, Ouray Brewery. Also the first bar I'v been to where most of the clients are wearing mountaineering boots.

One of the climbers hangouts, Ouray Brewery. Also the first bar I'v been to where most of the clients are wearing mountaineering boots.

The next day we headed up Camp Bird road and got on the classic climb Skylight, where I had my first ice climbing fall! Luckily I was only following, so we made it to the top of the route no problem. We also two other climbs in the area, including a pumpy overhanging M6.

 Looking up the second pitch of Skylight WI4. The chimney was narrow enough to be able to stem/chimney in some areas, but plenty sustained in others.

Looking up the second pitch of Skylight WI4. The chimney was narrow enough to be able to stem/chimney in some areas, but plenty sustained in others.

 Topping out Skylight

Topping out Skylight

 Looking down the chimney on the way back to the ground.

Looking down the chimney on the way back to the ground.

 Managed to criss-cross my arms, but managed to climb this mixed line clean.

Managed to criss-cross my arms, but managed to climb this mixed line clean.

 The temp hovered around zero for most of the morning.

The temp hovered around zero for most of the morning.

 Jeff prepping the rap above Camp Bird Road.

Jeff prepping the rap above Camp Bird Road.

 Perfect weather makes for happy climbers!

Perfect weather makes for happy climbers!

 Getting worked on a short but overhanging WI5. 

Getting worked on a short but overhanging WI5. 

The next day (after another brewery night) we woke up before dawn to climb Gravity's Rainbow, a 3 pitch WI5 route outside of town that happened to be in perfect condition. The route is south facing and melts out fast, so our goal was to climb and be off before the sun hit. We hiked an hour to the base in the dark, and climbed three rope stretching pitches to the top.

 Hiking in to Gravity's Rainbow.

Hiking in to Gravity's Rainbow.

 Getting prepped

Getting prepped

 Jeff leading the first pitch, which begins immediately with a vertical section. A great warmup!

Jeff leading the first pitch, which begins immediately with a vertical section. A great warmup!

 At the first belay.

At the first belay.

 Looking down from the second belay to our tracks about 400' below.

Looking down from the second belay to our tracks about 400' below.

 Jeff on the money pitch, a WI5 with a pumpy vertical section.

Jeff on the money pitch, a WI5 with a pumpy vertical section.

 Jeff looking back down to me at the belay.

Jeff looking back down to me at the belay.

 Topping out Gravity's Rainbow.

Topping out Gravity's Rainbow.

 Alpine anchor. Looks legit.

Alpine anchor. Looks legit.

 Jeff taking the first rappel.

Jeff taking the first rappel.

 Just don't shock load the anchor and we will be fine.

Just don't shock load the anchor and we will be fine.

 Looking down the vertical section.

Looking down the vertical section.

 Jeff showing perfect rope throwing technique on our last rappel!

Jeff showing perfect rope throwing technique on our last rappel!

 Looking back up the route. Each pitch was nearly 200', and we managed to get back to the base before the sun hit. Great success!

Looking back up the route. Each pitch was nearly 200', and we managed to get back to the base before the sun hit. Great success!

After wrapping up the climb, we spent the afternoon driving to Silverton along the Million Dollar Highway and checking conditions on a few climbs, and sampling another local brewery. 

 The Million Dollar Highway. No guardrails!

The Million Dollar Highway. No guardrails!

 Avalanche shed over the road. Not something you see on the east coast!

Avalanche shed over the road. Not something you see on the east coast!

 Scoping out Stairway to Heaven (above the speed limit sign) and Whorehouse Hoses (dark couloir on the right). 

Scoping out Stairway to Heaven (above the speed limit sign) and Whorehouse Hoses (dark couloir on the right). 

 The perfect climber's lunch. Local beer and pizza!

The perfect climber's lunch. Local beer and pizza!

 Driving back to Ouray we got another great view of Gravity's Rainbow, which is the white flow in the center of this shot. 

Driving back to Ouray we got another great view of Gravity's Rainbow, which is the white flow in the center of this shot. 

For our final day, we headed back into the ice park to work some hard mixed lines. After failing miserably on an M9 that was used for the competition the week before, I managed to climb a WI3 M6 clean on TR, and had a blast working a few other lines. 

 Busy day in the park, but no shortage of routes to climb.

Busy day in the park, but no shortage of routes to climb.

After another fun night in town with a few other climbers and guides, it was time to head home. Until next time, Colorado! 

The Salathé Wall

The Salathé Wall

Mt. Moran

Mt. Moran