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Close Call at Ouray

Close Call at Ouray

by Dawn Glanc

On Tuesday January 3, 2012 my husband, Patrick Ormond, bolted a new mixed line in the Ouray ice park. The new route is called The Honey Badger (WI5 M7) and follows about 40 feet of ice to a steep overhanging section of rock and then exits onto a large hanging dagger. On Wednesday, January 4, our return to the climb proved almost fatal.

Patrick had bolted and climbed the route on Tuesday and we returned Wednesday with our friend Simon Duverney, who was visting from France. Simon had bolted another line that morning, which is sandwiched between Wildebeast and Honey badger. He called the line Pimping and Bong Hits (WI5 M8). Simon and I planned to climb both of the new routes that day. I tried The Honey Badger, fell at the bolt before getting onto the ice and then lowered down so that Simon could try his new route.

Simon is wicked strong and did his route first go. His route exited onto the same hanging dagger as the Honey Badger, but onto the right side of the dagger. He lowered from the anchor and it was my turn to give the Honey Badger another shot.

I climbed the ice portion and was quickly on the rock moves. I clipped the two bolts and then began my exit onto the hanging dagger. To exit onto the ice I had to commit to the dagger, traverse around to its front side and then climb the front side to the ice slabs above.

As I came around the front of the pillar I saw Patrick and our friend Matt standing on the bridge watching. They heckled me and asked how the ice was. I replied, "the ice is great!" as I swung my tool. Just as those words left my mouth and my tool sunk into the ice I heard a very loud pop, and the next thing I knew I was on the dagger as it was falling to the ground. I was not attached to the dagger in any way, so I swung out of the way when the rope came tight to the bolt, which was about 15 feet away.

Simon was belaying me and had nowhere to run. The massive hanging dagger came crashing to his feet, missing him by only a foot. When the stillness came after the fall, Simon and I called to see if the other was okay. We could not believe what had just happened. Some how, tragedy was averted and we both were unscathed. We were lucky, that’s for sure. Simon and I hugged and agreed it was time to go and get a chocolate from Mouse's.

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