French Rule Ouray Ice Comp

1/13/12 - French climbers Simon Duverney and Jeff Mercier were the only two people to complete the wild and whimsical route at the Ouray Ice Festival's annual mixed climbing competition. On a bitterly cold Saturday in southwestern Colorado, climbers had up to 12 minutes to finish the route, which began on the classic dry-tooling line Mighty Aphrodite (M9), continued through an ice curtain, and then launched up a severely overhanging artificial prow that loomed over the Uncompahgre River canyon. To surmount this final obstacle, crafted by alpinist and guide Vince Anderson, climbers had to climb a spinning log, hook (or grab) straight-shafted ice axes dangling from the wall, and clutch a pair of tennis balls at the anchors.

Duverney smoothly completed the route several minutes faster than Mercier, a past winner of the Ouray comp, to earn the victory. American Sam Elias made it high onto the final wall before running out of time, taking third overall. The German climber Ines Papert, also a past winner in Ouray, was the top woman in the field, finishing ninth overall, followed by Dutch woman Marianne van der Steen and American Emily Harrington.

1. Simon Duverney (FRA)
2. Jeff Mercier (FRA)
3. Sam Elias (US)
4. Whit Magro (US)
5. Gordon McArthur (CAN)
6. Will Mayo (US)
7. Kyle Dempster (US)
8. Jason Nelson (US)
9. Ines Papert (GER)
10. Ryan Vachon (US)
11. Marianne van der Steen (NED)
12. Bryan Gilmore (US)

Date of competition: January 12, 2013



Previous Comments

Jeff lighten up. It's a FESTVAL! A gathering of like minded people around a sport or activity they love for shits and giggles. It is not about new routes, remote locations, real people doing real things or pushing journalistic standards. The ice fest and comp is about one thing, fun. This event and the comp are just a tiny thread in the taperstry that is climbing. The idea that a tweet linking a video to some folks climbing a log is what the climbing world is focused on is rediculous. Why not report it. Look at the list of competitors they are those that are most commonly written about doing the real things that Alpinist often focuses on. Most on the list are the drivers of where our sport is going on rock, ice and in the big mountains. If the same guy who just climbed the Ogre and has won the Piolet de Or wants to climb a log and grab the balls I say AWESOME. Lighten up just like the athletes in the comp have.

Carl - 01/13/2013 12:17:28

"climbers had to climb a spinning log, hook (or grab) straight-shafted ice axes dangling from the wall, and clutch a pair of tennis balls at the anchors." This really IS embarrassing. Profoundly so, in fact. Has climbing- and has Climbing- really come to a place where this kind of contrived nonsense constitutes a news-worthy event? And the parent media companies which own these outdoor-pursuit magazines (Climbing, Surfer, etc.) can't figure out why subscriptions and sales are waning? Really? Climbers- at least those who are interested in reading about what's going on- aren't nearly as dumb or gullible as we look. C'mon, Climbing- how about some real articles on real people doing real, unsponsored stuff on real rock or snow or ice? Yeah, I know, I know- you can't afford to pay real journalists salaries. Fair play. But then, you've got to realize that it is a death spiral- without well-written pieces, you're going to alienate the very people- passionate climbers- you purport to cater to. And, yeah, I understand that it's not entirely your fault, Climbing: the world is becoming increasingly focused on instantaneous, YouTube-oriented gratification, no matter how silly. That said, I'd submit that good journalism can succeed. Just look at Surfer's Journal, or Alpinist, for example... The road to utter irrelevance is paved with articles on spinning telephone poles and tennis balls, my friends. I challenge you to come up with well-written, thoughtful pieces that people- real climbers- want to read, and want to pay for. Until then, your numbers will continue to slide, I believe. Regards, Jeff Butler Santa Barbara

Jeff Butler - 01/13/2013 9:53:06

Underwhelmed....embarrassed actually.

jon - 01/13/2013 8:13:47