Every January, the town of Ouray holds a three-day party for those crazed souls who enjoy dangling themselves off outsize pillars of ice (ourayicefestival.com). If you're an ice climber, hike or rappel into the 164-foot Uncompahgre River Gorge for shots from below (helmet and crampons required). Otherwise, stake a spot on the viewing stands on the eastern ledge of the mile-long gorgeyou'll have a top-to-bottom view of the route across the way. And come early. "Between 9 and 11 A.M., the sun hits the back of the climbers and makes the ice glow," says local photographer Lora Slawitschka. Bring two lensesa telephoto, to capture the spray from an ax shattering the ice, and a wide-angle, for panoramic shots of ant-size climbers on the giant walls. Afterwards, crash at the Ouray Chalet Inn (doubles from $100; ouraychaletinn.com), walking distance from both the festival and Ouray's mineral-fed hot springs.
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