Ouray Ice Festival 2008
The 13th annual Ouray Ice Festival was held on January 9-13, 2008. This event does not need an introduction any more, as it has become one of the premier climbing events in North America, bringing some of the best climbers along with hundreds of spectators together.
Almost 50 competitors came to test their skills on the technical traversing ice curtain during the qualifying round on the 9-10th. Twelve men and five women advanced to the finals. Competition was rather stiff this year, with men like Steve House and Vince Anderson and women like Zoe Hart and Majka Burnhardt not qualifying for the finals. The final route had almost no ice and was sustained and powerful. The character of the route resembled the European World Cup routes rather than climbs typically featured in Ouray. It featured a steep rock section and diagonal ice traverse that lead to two hanging tuna rolls and finished with the overhanging diving board. It is worth adding that the character of the route was contrived and unnatural in comparison to the competition routes in past years and featured as much wood and plastic as rock. The route was also in a location that was very hard to view, allowing maybe 10% of the people that came to the festival to view the comp. Despite the negatives, this years competition was an impressive showdown of strong climbers with a very international feel. Jeff Mercier won the overall title by dynoing to the top just within the 20 minute time limit and was also the only contestant to top out on the route. Ines Papert won the women’s title and had time to spare, however was not able to make last reaches at the top. Ukrainian, Evgeny Kryvosheytsev, who dominated the festival in 2007 placed third as his tools poped off unexpectedly near the top.
Will Mayo and Rich Marshall should also get some recognition for their perseverance, as each of them dropped a tool and continued climbing. Carlos Garcia Bello, who placed fifth, climbed very solid throughout, but run out of time on the diving board.
For those who were not able to pile themselves into one of maybe two or three very small locations from which you could view the competition, the festival had many other attractions to offer. There were over 80 clinics, nightly slide shows by Kelly Cordes, Steven Koch, Will Gadd and Josh Wharton, as well as, a slack line competion, snow shoe race and kids climbing classes. The 2008 event was sponsored by Ouray Ice Park, Asolo Boots, as well as "Rock and Ice Magazine".
2008 Combined Results:
1) Jeff Mercier (France): TOP OUT
2) Ines Papert (f-Germany): 37
3) Evgeny Kryvosheytsev (Ukraine): 36
4) Boris Bihler (France): 35
5) Carlos Garcia Bello (Spain): 35
6) Rich Marshall (Canada):33
7) Audrey Gariepy (f-Canada): 28
8) Will Mayo (US): 27.5
9) Manuel Cordova (Spain): 27
10) Michael Shelton (US): 18.1
11) Matthieu Audibert (Canada): 18
12) Rob Cordery-Cotter (US): 18
13) Tanja Grmovsek (f-Slovenia): 18
14) Guy Lacelle (Canada): 17
15) Maxime Turgeon (Canada): 12
16) Dawn Glanc (f-US): 12
17) Kristie Arend (f-US): 11