Vachon Wins Ouray Mixed Competition

43-year-old Coloradan was only climber to finish route
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43-year-old Coloradan was only climber to finish route

Coloradan Ryan Vachon was the only competitor to top out at the 21st annual Ouray Ice Festival on Saturday, earning a clear victory in the annual mixed climbing comp. Vachon, a 43-year-old scientist and educator from Boulder, Colorado, is one of the strongest mixed climbers in the U.S., with several M14 ascents. He finished seventh in last year’s Ouray competition.

Sam Elias and Kyle Dempster rounded out the men’s podium.

A diagonaling crack formation on the overhanging, manmade headwall of the route was one of several features that stumped many competitors. "I found that avoiding the crack in the early stages was an easy solution," Vachon said. "There were a little jibs to either side. I feel like the crux was about 10 feet above, where there was a very technical sequence on a super-insecure metal sidepull that needed gentle yet constant pressure. I really appreciated the route-setting this year because they added everything into the mix: cracks, sidepulls, and little gems. The creative mind of [route-setter] Vince Anderson was center stage."

Lucie Hrozová, a 27-year-old Czech, continued Ouray’s tradition of strong women placing among the top overall finishers. Hrozová, who has won World Cup comps and redpointed M14 in Europe, won the women’s competition in Ouray and finished third overall. Angelika Rainier from the South Tyrol region of Italy, who was second overall in Ouray in 2015, finished second among women and sixth overall this year. Katie Bono was the top American woman in Ouray, finishing third among female climbers and 16th overall.

Ouray Ice Festival, January 16, 2016
Top 10 Finishers*
1. Ryan Vachon
2. Sam Elias
3. Lucie Hrozová (CZE, 1st female)
4. Kyle Dempster
5. Rudi Hauser (AUT)
6. Angelika Rainer (ITA, 2nd female)
7. Jason Nelson
8. David Lee
9. Will Gadd (CAN)
10. Masato Nakajima (JAP)

* Preliminary results