Mammut Athlete Josh Wharton Claims "Three-Peat" in Ouray

Colorado all-around climber Josh Wharton proved he has returned to form, as he notched a 3rd consecutive title at the 16th Annual Ouray Ice Festival.


CONTACT: Alycia Cavadi, Momentum Media PR

Mammut Athlete Josh Wharton Claims “Three-Peat” in Ouray

Ouray, CO (January 11th, 2011) – Colorado all-around climber Josh Wharton proved he has returned to form, as he notched a 3rd consecutive title at the 16th Annual Ouray Ice Festival. Battling back from a serious spinal injury sustained in a fall last May, Wharton silenced critics and doctors who said he would never climb again. Six months after his fall and subsequent injury, Josh turned a positive attitude and a grueling rehab program into an incredible comeback story.

In May 2010, Wharton fell while re-bolting a route in Rifle, CO, sending him 25 feet to the ground, where he sustained fractures to his L2 and L3 vertebrae as well as both his arms. After crawling to help, Wharton was hospitalized and fitted in a back brace that he could not put on by himself. Wharton is quick to point out that his wife Erinn deserves a ton of credit for enduring him during his rehabilitation as he was frequently a self-proclaimed “whiney bastard.”

Several weeks in to recovery, he began hiking when his doctors OK'd him to exercise, but the real work began when he started water aerobics at a facility in Estes Park. Over time, he was able to work out in a climbing gym and to use calisthenics and bouldering to regain his strength and form. While he worked primarily on fixing his broken body, the psychological toll his injury took also needed to be addressed.

“Serious injuries kill your confidence, but instead of worrying about winning, I just tried to focus on climbing well, and putting as much into my preparation as I could,” Wharton said, “ I used the comp as motivation to get back into shape. I trained very hard, doing lots of what I call "two-a-days", where I spend most of the day climbing outside, and then the evening training indoors.”

Mammut athletes owned 2 of the 3 podium spots in Ouray this year, as Whit Magro finished 3rd for the festival. The elite competition annually attracts some of the top mixed and ice climbers from around the globe as they seek the coveted title. The field this year featured entries from Colombia, Germany, Japan, and the USA while several thousand spectators watched and cheered.

Wharton added, “The comp field this year was full of many familiar faces… Sam Elias, and Will Mayo are both great climbers, and my buddy Whit is one of the best all-arounders I know. I always enjoy Ouray. It's a great chance to reconnect with lots of friends from all over that you don't ordinarily see.”

Wharton is currently training and packing for his next climbing trip to Patagonia, departing January 19th.

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