BD athletes Josh Wharton and Ines Papert win Ouray Ice Festival comp and Will Gadd climbs 28,712 feet in 24 hours!
This year’s 15th annual Ouray Ice Festival had many memorable marks, from Will Gadd suffer-festing through a one-man 24-hour ice climbing fundraiser to four Black Diamond athletes reaching podium (including wins by Ines Papert and Josh Wharton) in one of the most suspenseful ice comps in recent history. As in past years, the three-day weekend was full of events, clinics, parties and gear demos, making it the most popular ice climbing event in North America with an estimated 3000 ice climbers from novices to experts attending.
Saturday’s comp was a testy 130-foot mixed route that saw only two of the 23 climbers finish—winner Josh Wharton and second-place finisher and fellow BD athlete Sam Elias, with Elias topping out a mere three seconds before the 20-minute time limit expired. Ines Papert once again dominated the women’s field, cruising to a high point before blow ice sent her falling. Dawn Glac, another BD athlete, finished third for the women.
At high noon on Saturday Black Diamond athlete Will Gadd embarked on the “Endless Ascent,” a mission to climb for 24 hours straight to raise money for the dZi Foundation. Will climbed Pick O’ the Vick an incredible 194 times in 24 hours. Will cruised through the night, taking short breaks to sip on Redbull, eat a whole pizza and take bites out of a porterhouse steak. Will has some sore feet but still had a huge smile after ascending 28,712 total feet in a 24-hour period for a great cause. (Gadd did a great interview with Alpinist Magazine after the event and you can read it here.)
Below is a video of Sam Elias topping out the finals route.