I took my first ice climb up the frozen falls, deep in Clear Creek Canyon up Highway 6. They call it the "Coors Light Falls," because the brewery is just down the road (and let's face it, all that ice will eventually be turned into beer anyway, right?!)
Denver Adventures before, but under much different conditions. We met up in Golden last summer for my first rock climb and the guides put me at ease again! It's so comforting to climb up an ice wall 80 feet tall with experienced guides who've climbed all over the world. They literally showed me the ropes and exactly what it takes to tackle the ice.
I used two super strong axes and razor sharp crampons on my feet, and slowly put one in front of the other all the way to the top. The key, is keeping at least three points of contact. I couldn't believe how fun it was! I've always wanted to try it, but I have to admit, I was nervous about the ice breaking and didn't know how strong the surface truly is until I was face to face with it.
Even though the ice is in a constant state of motion and literally melting before my eyes, I felt safe and secure every time I dug in. Lead guide Aaron Bogdanovich told me to think of the ice as "climbing a really, really slow moving river". He was right! You could hear the water and see the ice falling away, especially now that Spring is upon us and the temperatures are rising.
"I'm not gonna lie. It is dangerous. That's part of the appeal and the draw to climbers coming up here, " says Bogdanovich. If it's extreme, I'll give it a try. What do I have to lose? Don't answer that...
If you've never given ice climbing a second thought... do it! Give the guides at Denver Adventures a call, and mention "Extreme Kellie" to get $25 off your next climb!