Greetings fellow climbers,
a friend & I have been procrastinating planning a weeklong ice climbing trip that I've wanted to do for awhile now. My thing is I want to do it in January. His thing is he can either do it the week of Jan. 3rd, or in March (less desirable for me). Basically what I'm saying is I'm trying to figure things out for the week of Jan. 3rd.
Unseasonably high temp's in Ouray (where we'd wanted to do this thing to begin with) have meant that numerous sections of the ice park are currently closed. As this area is normally freezing-assed cold this time of year, this totally surprised us. While temp's seem to be dropping back to more normalish, chilly expectations, as the time to make a decision is rapidly approaching, I want to see what conditions are like for other places too.
What I'm curious about: I'd wanted to go to Ouray due to simplicity: climbing right out of town, close car-to-crag approaches, numerous climbing options (top-rope, lead, easy -> hard, single thru multi-pitch, relatively low objective dangers (don't have to worry too much about avalanches on/before/after climbs, etc.)). What are things like in the various Alberta ice crags compared to this (I admit that I'm ignorant about climbing in these areas, & just would appreciate others' informed opinions vs. Ouray, which I am somewhat familiar with)? I want to get the most bang for my buck, as I'm pretty swamped at work, I've got limited free-time, & want to make the most of a week of ice climbing.
TRs from WI3 to whatever would be great. Leads from WI3 to WI4 (5 if we're feeling great) also good. Short approaches w/ low objective hazards optimal. Conditions at/below freezing (good ice that won't fall down on us) good (duh). Multi-pitch options? Excellent but not completely necessary. Cheap accomodations & easy airport options- would make things easier, but not necessarily completely necessary either.
Muchas gracias for your input- greatly appreciated! -D