70% of the Time, It Works Every Single Time: Ice Climbing in Ouray

I decided against climbing Kilimanjaro.  I cancelled my trip.  I wasn’t ready for another extreme adventure…just yet.  I was still recovering from the mental turmoil and aftermath of R2R2R (See March 15th, 2016 post).  I was fighting an inner battle: play it safe – did I have it all out of my system? Or should I keep pushing? The struggle was real.  Ultimately, I began to get restless.  My 30th birthday was the following year. Yikes.  That’s a milestone.  I began to feel the familiar longing for an adventure.

I figured ice climbing in Ouray, Colorado was a good trip to ease myself back into the realm of extreme adventures.  I had never climbed ice before and was interested to give it a try.  I was a little wary about all the sharp objects required to partake in such an endeavor: two ice axes and a pair of crampons.



Ouray Ice Park is about 6 hours south of Denver, Colorado and is a premier venue for ice climbing.  It’s free to the public and has over 200 routes to choose from.

So the first rule of ice climbing is: Do not fall.

The second rule of ice climbing is: Do not drop your ice axes!

You need the axes to climb, of course.  But you also don’t want your belay partner to lose any limbs, especially their belay arm.  The second rule is worth repeating: Do not drop your ice axes!

Even though I was on top rope, it was a little unnerving to climb with sharp axes.  I learned to step, step with my feet, keeping them parallel and then swing with each axe.  It was pretty satisfying to feel the axe crush into the ice.  A wave of adrenalin coursed through my veins throughout each route.  I told myself to keep moving and BREATHE!  Once at the top, I could relax.





After a long day of climbing, a pint at the Ouray Brewery hit the spot.  Shooting the shit, as friends do at a brewery, our conversation led to getting outside your comfort zone.  My comfort zone, in particular.

Pictured: Brandon, Dan

My good friend, Brandon, mentioned how my comfort zone was slightly larger than before (since I completed R2R2R), but that it had room for improvement.  He really knows how to piss me off.  I imagine it’s his way of inspiring me.  But it works.  70% of the time.  Every. Single. Time.

What was next on the “getting outside your comfort zone” agenda?

An Ironman.

A 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run Ironman.  Brian signed up for Ironman Cozumel and he was egging me on to sign up for it too.  It was February 2014, and the race was in November 2014.

I had some experience with sprint triathlons and I was ready for a challenge.  So, as I sat in the Montrose, Colorado airport on my way back to Nashville, I made the call. I signed up for Ironman Cozumel 2014.

Pictured: Dan, Brandon, me, Brian


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