Paul Pottinger’s Adventures from the Top of the World

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Ouray 2018: Day 1

Colorado  •  January 29

So happy to be back in Ouray for three days of ice climbing with friends. This annual tradition is always a blast. Conditions were sub-ideal, with warm temps and low precip in the prior months. But still lots of fun. Expert guiding by IMG, naturally.

A glimpse into the realities of sharing an apartment with Justin.
Jonathan Schrock, Justin Merle, and Sondra Ripperger: IMG Guides Extraorinaire.
Coffee + Burrito = ready to climb.
The bridge over the ravine.
Kim is impressed. Easily impressed.
The Ravine. Welcome to Ouray Ice Park.
By all accounts, a remarkable man.
Getting our game face on.
Points on!
Are we happy to be here? You be the judge.
Walking towards South Park.
For Allison and Ross, a first time in Ouray.
Sunshine hits the bottom of this section of the gorge.
The lines attached to bolts in the wall form anchors for the top ropes of climbers below.
Lines dropping to the floor.
We step over the anchors ever so diligently.
Walking to South Park.
Conditions: SPLITTER!
Ouray: The Happiest Place on Earth!
This large water main, called a penstock, carries H2O from a mountain tarn to the town. Along the way, it is tapped so that the ravine walls can be sprinkled and renewed with ice each evening. Do not break the penstock!
Team Hagerty!
We really chose a perfect day.
Kim: So photogenic.
Justin Merle. Enough said.
Justin gives us some pointers at the start.
This will be epic…
Kim on her first pitch of the trip. Nailing it.
Kim fights the battle of a bulge.
Teresa and Jonathan.
Allison’s first climb. She is not excited about this one bit.
Allison is irrepressible in all circumstances.
Transitioning back onto her points.
And, she’s back at it!
Johnny swings with authority.
I’m not sure what Ross is selling, but Kim seems reluctant to buy.
The reach of Justin is long indeed.
Jodi and Teresa.
Jodi on ice!
Jodi climbs like a pro.
Jodi about to top out.
Ross belays while Sondra directs. A recipe for success.
Allison loves to belay.
Sondra’s prism specs: A great idea!
Each climber is more wonderful than the next.
Kim LOVES to belay.
I shake the cobwebs off, a year after my last pitch.
I shout my barbaric yawp from the icetop.
Kim’s first time belaying with a GriGri. I have total confidence…. (GoPro Screenshot)
Water is running smoothly along the ravine floor. (GoPro Screenshot)
Plastic ice still shatters when you whack it. (GoPro Screenshot)
This route is pretty hooked out. (GoPro Screenshot)
Arms pumped? Shake ’em out.
Tools hang across our shoulders when we shake it out… or just remain on the route if placed firmly. (GoPro Screenshot)
Switching hands on the same tool. (GoPro Screenshot)
Generally, we try to place one tool directly above the other. This means swinging half as often, and always being in balance when we take a step. (GoPro Screenshot)
Definitely do not want to hit the rope with those tools…. (GoPro Screenshot)
OK Atomic Girl, lower me on the GriGri. (GoPro Screenshot)
Lowering smooth as silk. (GoPro Screenshot)
Trying to get the WizMount to capture some epic selfies. It was not designed to work with my gimbal. (GoPro Screenshot)
Ross thinks this is really entertaining. (GoPro Screenshot)
Sondra to the rescue! (GoPro Screenshot)
Well, it looks good when it decides to work. (GoPro Screenshot)
And it decided to work for a minute or two! Whacking it against the ice may not have been a great idea. (GoPro Screenshot)
Allison has found a new passion.
Teresa lowering after a successful pitch.
Teresa loves to get low.
Chris threads the needle.
Chris tops out.
We do not know what this was about. We will not ask.
Apres climb time is fun time.

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