by Dalton Carver
Esha Mehta reaches her pick toward the next hold she can find in the icy canyon, unable to view how far she’s come or how far she has left. However, in the grand scheme of ice climbing, neither of those factors matters to Mehta, as she crunches her cramponed boots down and presses on. In the cold wind blowing through the canyon at the Ouray Ice Park, she feels liberated again by her favorite sport, an activity that she believes is aided by her lack of sight.
“I actually think rock climbing was made for blind people, hands down,” Mehta said Tuesday afternoon. “It’s all about feeling around using your hands and feet. Ice climbing is even more accessible – you make your route as you go, which is really liberating, actually.”
Last weekend, the 29-year-old Mehta attended Paradox Sports’ annual climbing event at the Ouray Ice Park, which featured about 50 climbers, 16 of whom had never ascended ice before. Mehta was one of those first-timers. She’d never used an ice pick, nor strapped crampons to her boots for stability on the ice. Not sure what to expect, Mehta said she entered the opportunity with no expectations, aside from it being chilly on Saturday. She was correct on that prediction.
Every year athletes from around the world journey to Ouray’s Ice Park to...