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July 4, 2020

Climbers Tackle Ice at Annual Festival Sat., February 4


   Lake City is in for a triple shot of winter fun over the upcoming three weekends, kicking off with the annual ice climbing festival Saturday, February 4, followed by the second annual Cannibal Snowshoe Race February 12, and Hinsdale Search and Rescue’s annual ice fishing derby on Saturday, February 18.
According to event co-planner Al Brown, the ice conditions are “really good” for the ice climbing festival, despite warm weather earlier this winter. “We are farming ice daily,” he says, “and conditions should be perfect for next weekend.”
Last year, a total of 30 climbers took part in the climbing competitions, which this year will include men’s and women’s categories with top rope and lead speed events. In 2016, first in lead rope were Todd Felix and Joanna Spinder, followed in second place by local climber Craig Blakemore; Felix and Spinder also came in first for top rope.
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. or can be completed online at lakecityiceclimbs.com, or on-site the day of the event. Brown informs WORLD that he expects local climbers as well as visiting climbers to attend; in the past, attendees have come from Western State University in Gunnison, as well as Fort Lewis College and Crested Butte and as far away as Fort Carson in Colorado Springs.
For out-of-towners who are not familiar with the ice wall, it is located at the southwest corner of town, at the mouth of the Henson Creek Canyon.
The second annual Lake City Cannibal Snowshoe Race is scheduled the following weekend, Sunday, February 12, at the County Boat Dock at Lake San Cristobal. Onsite registration begins at 9 a.m., and the race will begin at 10 a.m. Online registration can
be completed at www.SnowShoeLakeCity.redpodium.com/lake-city-cannibal-snowshoe-race.
Events include men’s and women’s 5k & 10k, and a 1k fun run for the kids. Hot lunch will be available for purchase by participants and spectators. Race t-shirts will also be on sale at the event, as well as online.
According to event coordinator Jodi Linsey, the t-shirts, which will bear the same logo as last year — a snowshoeing skeleton — were an enormous success last year and sold well outside of the local niche market. Linsey predicts that the combination of entry fees, race-day food sales and t-shirt sales, as well as the support of more than 26 sponsors, should guarantee a positive income for the Lake City Continental Divide Snowmobile Club. All proceeds from the race go to the club, the club’s primary fund-raising event.
Next year’s race is already scheduled for February 11, 2018. Linsey is working with other local winter event organizers in hopes of producing an annual winter festival to attract more visitors and participants during the winter off-season.
Last year’s 10k winner was local resident Lydia McNeese, and the 5k was won by Golden, Colorado’s David Kelble.
To round out three weekends of fun, Saturday, February 18, is Hinsdale County Search and Rescue’s annual benefit ice fishing derby. Like the snowmobile club, this is the sole fundraising effort of the year for search and rescue.
Sign up for the fishing derby begins at 7:30 a.m. at the county boat dock at Lake San Cristobal, with fishing beginning 8:30 a.m. Entry fee is $20 per participant.
According to coordinator Tommy Carl, prizes will be awarded for longest-length live game fish, and fishermen can catch and release if they desire. To clarify, game fish are considered to be brown trout, mackinaw and salmon, excluding sucker fish.
First place will receive an Eskimo Ice Fishing Tent, second place, a three-burner catalytic propane heater and third place will receive a Stanley quart thermos with accessories. Additionally, door prizes and other miscellaneous prizes will be handed out.
Available for purchase will be hamburgers and brats, with volunteers delivering meals directly to each contestant’s ice fishing hole.
Last year’s winners were Gunnison angler Mervin Ormiston, Jr., first place,  who snagged a 29”, 6 lb. lake trout and his mother Neita, who won second and third places with 3-3/4-lb. 22-1/2” and 18-7/8” trout caught at the lake’s south end. A total of 47 fishermen took place in last year’s derby.

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