Ouray Ice Park, CO Felix Wong

For years, Michele had been trying to get Tori and me to give ice climbing a try. While I was keen on the idea, Tori had always dismissed the concept out of hand, citing reasons such as “being cold on the side of a cliff just does not sound appealing.” I.e., reasons a perfectly rational person might give.

Happily then, Tori’s adventurous side took control of her when Michele floated the idea for a late January/early February ice climbing trip to Ouray in Western Colorado and became a willing participant. So did my friend Danny who, like Michele, had previously climbed at Ouray at least a half dozen times. We rented a condo owned by the Victoria Inn in Ouray for a Friday-Tuesday trip.

It turned out to be a very fun weekend, including three days of ice climbing, two nights of soaking in the Ouray Hot Springs Pool, one evening soaking in the Victoria Inn hot tub, and many visits to Mouse’s Chocolate & Coffee. In addition, Danny and I ran on snow, dirt and ice on two separate occasions for a total of about 16 miles.

On Saturday and Sunday, Michele’s adventure-racing friends Heidi and Jeff joined us and we had some very tasty homemade dinners in the condo. Also, we (well, mainly Danny and I) watched the most AMAZING Super Bowl, in which (much to the bewilderment and eye rolling of the others) I got to wave my Terrible Towel a lot. Yay, Steelers!

Finally, it was a good trip for bonding with great friends while getting plenty of arm- (and leg-) busting exercise. Tori and I even agreed that ice climbing is something we would be interested in doing again, even if it means being cold on the side of an icy cliff another time in the future.

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Was Tori mad or cold?  Although it may look like she is saying, "Damn you, Michele!" she was actually happy.Hiking through Ouray Ice Park.South Park!  It's an area in Ouray Ice Park.  It was too crowded so we never climbed there.Tori about to rapel from the top of a cliff in the New Frontier area."This is how you do it," showed Michele.Felix Wong practicing with the ice gear.Tori looking warm and cuddly.Michele rapeling off another climb in New Frontier.Felix Wong hacking away at a climb in New Frontier.Michele belaying from down below.Piece of dark chocolate with an ice climber on it, from Mouse's Chocolate & Coffee in Ouray.Jeff, Heidi, Michele, Tori and Danny walking through the Ouray Ice Park. (February 1, 2009)"My butt is numb," stated Michele after belaying me while sitting on the snow for too long. (February 1, 2009)The Uncompahgre River in the Uncompahgre Gorge. (February 1, 2009)Climbing up the Uncompahgre Gorge in The Alcove area.  I think Danny is the one at the top left. (February 1, 2009)Tori and Michele taking photos of climbers in the Uncompahgre Gorge on a bridge. (February 1, 2009)The views from the bridge in The Alcove. (February 2, 2009)Danny, Michele, and Tori about to commence another fun day of ice climbing. (February 2, 2009)Walking along some big water pipes past The Alcove. (February 2, 2009)The Uncompahgre River. (February 2, 2009)Danny climbing away in New Frontier. (February 2, 2009)Tori going up a climb in New Frontier, using her knee! (February 2, 2009)Felix, Danny and Michele were content after their last climbs. (February 2, 2009)Tori, Michele, Danny and Felix Wong in front of  a "Do Not Feed Chipmunks" sign. (February 2, 2009)Danny creating a delicious entre for dinner in our condo. (February 2, 2009)Michele with salad! (February 2, 2009)

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