14. Land of Enchantment
Lake City Ice

Lake City Ice

We do this drive a lot- cruising through the dry, desert landscape of northern New Mexico heading north to go play. Sometimes we stray only as far as Tres Piedras, camping amongst the pines and climbing towards the sky. Sometimes we cross the border to enjoy the solitude and smorgasbord of routes that Colorado’s San Luis Valley offers up. More often than not we keep going until we cut the engine at Hotel Chamberlain in Montrose. But today we are taking a new direction: heading west into the San Juan Mountains, past my favorite little mining town of Creede, and onwards to the lovely little town of Lake City, Colorado.

It’s a four and-a-half hour drive through some beautiful country complete with craggy rock formations and trails zig-zagging up and up forever, making me just itch to go run them and see what’s on the other side. Hugo’s happily alternating between his truck sticker book and staring outside at the cows and countryside, and alerting us of the occasional “digger” (i.e., anything with big wheels that is yellow).

Desert turns to alpine turns to snow and ice, and we find ourselves at Lake City and decide to check out the ice park first thing.


So an ice park is “farmed ice”, meaning it is created in the winter by spraying water in the right conditions on the right kind of terrain so that ice forms.


As opposed to “wild” or “backcountry ice”, pictured here, which is basically just waterfalls that freeze in the winter. Here’s Stéphane at Horsetail Falls outside Ouray back in 2012.
One of the rare times we are adventuring sans camper: our cute little cabin rental for the weekend.
Brother Alan, Tom, and Stéphane at the ice park. Beautiful, crisp day for some ice climbing!
Playing in the snow. The green IKEA bucket proves itself to be worth its weight in gold yet again.
Stéphane leading upwards on a beautiful ramp of ice.
Hugo hangs for hours, enjoying the snow and his red car.
This is what it looks like after someone leads a route on ice – there are ice screws that the climber screws into the ice on his way up. He clips the rope into the screw/beaner combo in order to keep himself safe if he falls.
One of the nights we have cheese fondue evening with freshly-baked bread and some yummy fondue cheese. It was really good to catch up with our friends Rene and Belinda- Swiss natives who left their country many moons ago to settle in Lake City.
Hugo practicing his technical fondue skills.
Hugo gets his first guitar lesson from Uncle Tom.
Rene and Belinda teach us how to dance to Swiss folk music.


Another blue sky sunshine day! Today was much warmer and less windy than the first day.


Fun in the tub.
Man, I haven’t done this in a while and I am already pumped!!
It is super rare for Stéphane and I to get to climb together these days, so this was pretty special!
Hugo goofing off while mommy and daddy climb.


Amazing ice formations. Stéphane calls this one “the beard”.
T-Rex wants to swing the ice axe!


Beers, gourmet brats and deviled eggs at the Lake City Brewery. The brewery is right next to the ice park (GREAT placement) and has tasty beers and grub.


He only wears sunglasses inside.
Shenanigans back at the cabin.
It was really great to catch up with Rene and Belinda again. We hope to see them again soon.
Aunt Melisa shows Hugo how.
Love birds 🙂
An awesomely fun trip to Lake City! We’ll be back soon! (and yes, I know that Hugo needs sunglasses) 🙂

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