By Dan Escalante and Dougald MacDonald
If Ouray and its ice park are starting to feel like Boulder West, consider a trip to Lake City and its low-key ice park and superb backcountry climbs. It’s no closer to Front Range cities than Ouray, and there aren’t as many climbs to choose from, but Lake City is uncrowded and the vibe is more Cicely than Sayulita.
The fun climbing in the Lake City Ice Park is just southwest of downtown along Henson Creek. (Follow Bluff Street or 1st Street to Engineer Pass Road, aka County Road 20.) The park has up to 15 routes, with 60- to 100-foot pitches, from WI3 to WI5, plus some mixed routes. The base area is unbeatable—it’s flat and in the sun much of the afternoon (assuming it’s not snowing), making for pleasant belays.