Denver & Colorado

I live in and LOVE Denver. As much as I enjoy traveling, I am so happy to call Denver home. There is always something to do in this city! From racing to restaurants, there’s something here for everyone.

Here, you’ll find posts about my favorite things to do in Denver/Colorado.

Red Rocks: Workouts / Film on the Rocks

2011 Denver Out of the Darkness Walk

Bike Riding on the Cherry Creek Path

A Bachelorette Weekend in Vail

Denver Patio Ride

Canvas & Cocktails, Girls Night at Canvas and Cocktails!

Tease Studio (Pole fitness class!)

Bella Glass Studios

First Fridays: True Love Shoes  & Infinite Monkey Theorem

Indoor Skydiving

Yelp! Denver Events: Monster MashUp, Elite Event at Capital Grille

Rugby Games at Infinity Park

Gun Safety Class at Cherry Creek State Park

Get Out and PLAY! Colorado is one giant playground for people who love to be active and explore. 

Coloradocation (Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4)

Glacading at St. Mary’s Glacier

Birthdaycation in Breckenridge! (part 1, part 2)

Learning to Winter Camp (part 1)

Denver Eats! There is no shortage of great food in this city.

Izakaya Den Sushi

India Oven

Banzai Sushi

Bull And Bush

Dining Out Paleo: Chipotle, HBurger, Garbanzo

Euclid Hall

Learning to Ice Climb at Silver Plume, CO

Basic Ice Climbing School // lgsmash.com

This week, Alex and I took Before we knew we were heading to Ouray for New Year’s Eve, Alex and I signed up for the Basic Ice Climbing School at the Colorado Mountain Club. In hindsight, we should have waited to go to Ouray until we’d taken the class but such is life.

The Basic Ice Climbing Class included 1 classroom session and 1 field day. On Monday, our classroom day, we reviewed gear needed for ice climbing, safety protocol and then stepped out to the climbing wall to practice swinging the ice axes.

Saturday was our field day and we met our team before sunrise to carpool out to Silver Plume, a small town 45 miles west of Denver, right off I-70. The approach in was short – 15 minutes – and included scrambling in crampons. Our instructors set up 4 ropes and we spent the next 5.5 hours climbing and belaying each other up the ice. We had 1 instructor per every 2 students so we students were afforded personal attention and coaching as we climbed. I ended the day so much more confident in my technique and ability to ascend the ice.

Silver Plume is a really great place to get many repetitions in if you’re looking to practice your technique. Because of its proximity to Denver and short approach, this site is very popular on the weekends so I recommend starting early. Alex and I would like to head back in the coming weeks for additional practice and are considering a second long weekend trip to Ouray, now that we fully understand the mechanics of ice climbing.

I highly recommend the CMC’s Basic Ice Climbing School. Low time commitment (especially compared to the Basic Mountaineering School) and a super fun skill to learn for even more winter adventures. There are a few additional sessions of Basic Ice this winter; check the schedule here to sign up!

For peeps who are already ice climbing badasses, The CMC also has a Technical Ice Climbing School, too, where you’ll learn how to lead ice climb, among other skills.

Hip, Hip, Ouray! (Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO)

Colorado is such a gem. There’s no shortage of awesome things to do, incredible places to see and the best people to spend time with. #Coloradocations are one of my favorite things to do over a long weekend for exactly those reasons. When a trip to Ouray, CO was suggested for the long New Year’s weekend, Alex and I hardly thought twice before jumping in.

It’s a long but beautiful 6 hour trek to Ouray in southwest Colorado. Leaving around lunch time, the hours passed quickly with podcasts and naptime; we rolled up to our VRBO rental just after 6:30 p.m. on New Years Eve. Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com

With our friends Lucas and Nancy, Justin and Lauren, we made pizzas in the oven, played ‘drawception’ and toasted great friends and fresh hopes when the ball dropped at midnight. Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com

The next morning, we set our sights on our first adventure of 2015: learning to ice climb at the Ouray Ice Park. Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com

The Ouray Ice Park is a free park full of super fun ice climbing routes. Much of the ice is man-made and it’s an incredible sight to see. There are more than 200 named routes and all sections are within a 10-15 minute hike from the park’s entrance.

As the park opened just the weekend before and we were there over the long New Years weekend, the park was pretty crowded. We were able to snag an anchor in the section called New Funtier. For this newbie, I was excited to hear that we could set up the anchor up top and hike down to the base. I was less excited when the hike down looked like this and included only a roped handrail. Talk about getting your attention!
Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com

The hike down was completely doable and looked a lot more intimidating than it really was, fortunately. Of the 5 of us climbing, 4 of us were relatively new to ice climbing but we found it easy to pick up. Unlike rock climbing, ice climbing is a ‘pick your own route’ type of climbing which makes it easy for climbers of all comfort levels to participate. Alex is a lot more fearless than I am and on the same rope, we were both able to climb routes that fit our comfort level.

Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com

We spent the afternoon climbing and called it a day when the park closed at 4 p.m., just as the water faucets turned on to make new ice overnight.

That night, we opted to spend our first night of 2015 soaking in the Ouray hot springs. After spending a day in a chilly, snowy canyon, the hot springs were a welcome warm up.

It was hard to pass up a day exploring the town of Ouray – popping into shops, indulging in local ice cream. Such a perfect day relaxing and recouping from a whirlwind few months and busy holiday season.

On our last full day in Ouray before heading home, we debated driving out to Telluride for a day of skiing (my most favorite skiing!) or hitting the ice park again. Climbing won (no hour long drive, no lift ticket expense) and we grabbed our harnesses and helmets for some laps on the ice.
Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com

Don’t mind my terrified look. I was mere feet of the ground but couldn’t find a hold for my foot…mini-panic moment. Trip report: Ice Climbing in Ouray, CO // lgsmash.com

While I’m not the most comfortable ice climbing, I certainly enjoyed the experience. The Ouray Ice Park is one of a kind and really incredible to experience; I’m so glad we made the trip!

To note: If you don’t have the necessary ice climbing gear, there are a few shops in town that rent crampons and ice tools. I haven’t yet bought my own crampons so I rented a pair both days from Ouray Mountain Sports ($20) and Peak Mountain Sports ($15). There are also beginner seminars at the ice park and an intro wall where you can take a lap on a much smaller route than in the canyon. There truly is something for everyone – only requirement is a positive attitude, some gear and a love of winter!