Lee Vining Ice Festival
Last week, we were lucky to spend four days in Lee Vining, CA with climbers from all over California, New Mexico, and Nevada at the annual Lee Vining Ice Festival. Hosting a variety of interesting terrain to both the new and experienced climber, this fest is a great opportunity for climbers to hone their technique, try out new equipment, and get instruction from professional guides and athletes.
The event was hosted by representatives from Arc'teryx, Scarpa, La Sportiva, Julbo, Petzl, Black Diamond, LOWA, and Swix, to name a few. Highlights included top-ropes and instruction for beginning and intermediate climbers, steeper ice for the more experienced, community breakfasts and dinners, and an evening slideshow presented by Arc'athlete Jesse Huey about climbing Denali's 'Slovak Direct'.
"The Lee Vining Ice Fest has grown every year that we have offered it," says Chuck Blackwell an Arc'teryx brand representative who is one of the leads for organizing the event. This year, the ice fest hosted around a hundred shop employees and climbers from Sports Chalet, REI, and independents from all over the southwestern United States.
"It is always super fun to see so much enthusiasm for ice climbing and to help people out who are learning," said Jesse Huey. "You could tell everyone was having a really good time and enjoying the process of learning how to climb a frozen waterfall. For most people attending, it was completely a new experience even seeing a frozen waterfall, much less climbing one."
We had an amazing time and are already looking forward to the 2014 Lee Vining Ice Festival.