The 20th annual Ouray Ice Festival took place on Jan. 10 and some of the top winter climbers took part. The always strong Will Gadd walked away with the win.[shareprints gallery_id=”10627″ gallery_type=”thumb_slider” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_100″ image_size=”large” image_padding=”0″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]As always, there was lots of excitement before the event, more so this year with Sasha DiGiulian competing in her first mixed comp.
Like so many times before, the Will Gadd, 47, took top spot. After travelling to Ouray with no expectations, Gadd was happy with the outcome. Other well-known climbers who competed were Sarah Hueniken, Jen Olson, Sam Elias, Will Mayo and Ines Papert.
The route proved too hard for anyone to onsight. “Fun event but the route had a mossy crack feature that thwarted us all,” said Gadd.
The crux of the route, which was set by Vince Anderson, had three cracks coated in rubber. Steve House wrote about it on his Facebook page, “I had the honour of pre-running the difficulty competition course for the Ouray Ice Festival. My wife, Eva, named the route Krampus after the alpine-tradition (found in Austria, Bavaria, northern Italy and Switerland) about a devil that is the counterpart to Santa. The Krampus will take the bad little boys and girls, put them in a basket, and haul them off to hell. The devil is still celebrated with a Krampus parade in most towns, with men dressing up in outlandish devil costumes. Vince and the ice farmers, using Eva’s inspiration, created a Krampus finishing hold that the competitors had to dyno for. Unfortunately no-one climbed the Krampus.”
Angelika Rainer won for the women and finished second overall. Canadians Sarah Hueniken, Katie Bono and Jen Olson finished second, third and fourth respectively in a strong showing. Gadd said of the results, “It is very notable that Sarah pulled the best Canadian result in a decade by finishing third in speed and second in the difficulty. I think this is the first time a Canadian woman has done that in at least a decade. With her Bozeman result and sends of M12 and M13, she has had an outstanding couple of years, pretty rad. It reminded of the comps back in the day where we owned the podium, pretty cool.”
Kendra Stritch won the speed comp at Bozeman’s world cup and was speedier than everyone again at Ouray, too. Sarah Hueniken finished in third for speed and Katie Bono in fifth. For the men’s speed, Simon Duverney won and Kendra’s brother Carter finished fourth. Kendra and Carter were the only brother/sister team competing.
Sasha DiGiulian had only been mixed climbing for two weeks, coached by Will Mayo, when she got on the sharp-end at Ouray. On her Facebook, she wrote, “I had a great time trying something new and realizing that anything can be possible. I’m excited to continue with this new type of climbing that I love so much.”
Gadd, Will (first overall)
Lydiard , Luke
Rainer, Angelika (second overall)