It was late September when several of the British Canyoneers committee flew out of London Heathrow, headed for Denver Internation Airport in Colorado.
From Denver it was a day long road trip across Colorado, (stopping off to see the Ghost Town of St Elmo, an old mining town founded in 1880 and sitting at and elevation of 9,961ft) before finally arriving in Ouary, which would be home for the coming week
“Great trip to Ouray in Colarado for some jaw dropping scenery and verticality. Well organised from start to end. Would love to go again!"
Ouray (locally call the Switzerland of America) is the “Outdoor Recreation Capitol of Colorado.” Centrally located in Southwest Colorado, Ouray is the perfect basecamp for a Canyoneering holiday, with over 40+ canyons in the greater area, and the majority of these less than a 15 min drive from the centre of town.
After checking into the Twin Peaks Lodge and Hotspa, we took a walk down main street to the McGrumpy Pants Brewing Co, to meet up with Andrew Humphreys (#ICOpro #V7Academy #CanyonningColorado) Andrew, founder of Canyoning Colorado, was not just going to come out coaching with us on a few of the canyons, but was also kindly letting us use his shop as a kit store.
“Brilliant local knowledge and guiding from Andy Humphreys.”
Andrew's knowledge and instruction was invaluable, not just from a skills progression for each of us. But also, for the best bars and restaurants in town.
The shear scale of the Canyons in Ouray, compared to that of the UK was one of the first things to become accustomed too, followed quickly by the very high risk of abrasion due to the rock!
That said the Canyons where phenomenal and varied significantly, Our decent of Bear Creek so us having to tunnel our way under a giant snow shelve in the canyon littered with trees from an avalanche the previous winter. Where as the final days decent of Cascade Creek (pictured above) saw a meet at the carpark at the at the back of town and staring the hike in before sun up. The hike took around 1-1/2 hours and sees you climb 1780ft to the start of the Canyon. The Canyon itself around a 6 hour decent of 17 rappel features and a vertical drop of 1960ft, culminates in the final waterfall which is a 270ft rappel right into the back of Ouary itself.