Beth Goralski, ice and rock climber
Story by Kathryn R. Burke
[Ouray, Colo. October 20, 2015] Beth Goralski has been ice climbing since 2001. During a holiday vacation from Colorado State University, where she was a student, Beth took an ice climbing class. “I fell in love immediately” she said. “I had been rock climbing for quite a few years, so the transition was pretty easy for me.”
Although she has primarily climbed in Colorado, Beth went to Iceland in February of 2014. Kitty Calhoun, the famous U.S. alpinist, was her climbing partner in Iceland. Together they did multiple first ascents. Beth also has first ascents in the Ouray area, primarily mixed lines with Jason Nelson.
This year will be Beth’s third to compete in the Ouray Icefest. Last year, she also competed at the Bozeman Ice Festival in Bozeman Montana, which is now a World Cup event. This year she will return to compete in Bozeman, which is “where the world’s best mixed climbers come together to compete. There are six other world cup comps held in Europe and South Korea but Bozeman is the only one held in the Americas.”
Mixed climbing is using ice tools to climb up rocks, or in competitions, artificial plastic walls.” You have to climb on rock in between the ice caches, ‘dry tooling’ the rock climb with ice axes and crampons.” She explained.
Mixed climbing is Beth’s specialty. It’s a fringe sport, even in the climbing community – climbing both ice and rock in the same climb. “It’s primarily a winter sport,” Beth said, “although there are some places you can go in summer and just climb rock.”
What kind of equipment do they need for mixed climbing? Ice axes and a ‘fruit boots,’ which are a hybrid between a climbing boot and climbing shoe, with a crampon attached to the front plate. Climbers use ropes, gear, and helmets used in regular climbing. “I wear a harness, and someone has to belay me,“ she said, “so I always go with a partner. I have multiple partners that I dry tool and climb with.”
What does she like best about climbing? “It’s awesome. Exhilarating. Exciting. It’s lots of fun, and it’s mentally and physically challenging.”
Gripped: Climbing News: Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Rock: New Multi-Pitch M11 Mixed-Route Goes Up in Ouray, Colorado
Patagonia: Climbing in Iceland with Loki the Deceiver
Climbing: Bozeman Ice World Cup Results
This article also appears on website for the Woman’s Club of Ouray County. Designed and maintained by Kathryn R. Burke.