Most Viewed Stories
Ouray growing as canyoneering destination
OURAY — For a man dangling above 170 feet of open air, Greg Foy was composed. Leaning out over the cliff's edge, he checked his climbing harness and tugged the rope and anchor securing him to the canyon walls. Then he stepped back, leaving the safety of the ledge and entering the vertical world of one of Colorado's wildest waterfalls.
I stood at the base of the falls, water still streaming from my shoes and wetsuit, and watched him descend. A black dot against the rocks, his body disappeared halfway down the face into the torrent of water. Moments later, he plopped into an ankle-deep pool.
Foy unclipped from his rope and pulled it through the anchor above. "You've joined an elite group," he said with a grin.
"Very few people have seen what you're seeing now."
We stood together in Lower Oak Creek, one of the lesser-known technical canyons of the San Juan Mountains. Though the entire length of the canyon is less than a mile from the southwest Colorado town of Ouray, steep rock walls and the surrounding mountainsides render it invisible to anyone not actually inside.
Foy believes the bottom of Lower Oak has been seen by fewer than 200 people.
Read how the canyons near Ouray differ from the popular canyoneering sites in Utah and Arizona, when to go and who offers guided trips.