French Rule Ouray Ice Comp

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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.

RESULTS 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

Sources: ourayicepark.com, vimeo.com, facebook.com