Water Pipe Bursts at Ouray Ice Park

By Rock and Ice | January 18th, 2016

During the annual Ouray Ice Festival this Saturday at the Ouray Ice Park in Colorado, the three-foot diameter water “penstock” above Uncompahgre Gorge burst. No one was climbing directly below at the time but there were several climbers off to the side. Climbers had to evacuate the lower gorge in certain sections due to rising water. Fortunately, no one was injured and the mixed climbing competition, not far below the burst, continued.

The penstock has a habit of leaking, but “ice park old timers I talked to don’t remember the penstock bursting like that,” says Barry Stevenson, who made the video.

Rock and Ice online editor Hayden Carpenter and Ariella Gintzler had climbed the “strangely brown” ice flow directly below where the pipe burst the day before. “Every ice route in the entire park was taken besides the brown flow,” says Carpenter. “That’s the thing about brown ice—why is it brown? Scared people away I guess but it was soft and sticky hero ice. Now we know the source of the brown.

“Lesson learned. Never eat yellow snow. Never climb brown ice.”


Video by Outside Adventure Media

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