The threat to winter sports, like ice climbing, may rank low on the priority list of climate concerns, but they show a clear example of one way our world is changing—and what we, as people, are motivated to save.

For the uninitiated, ice climbing involves ascending frozen water with crampons strapped to mountaineering boots and an ice axe in each hand. Norway, Canada, and the US Rocky Mountains are a few top destinations for the sport. The majority of ice routes exist on natural waterfalls that freeze come winter, but you can also “farm” ice by watering cliffs.

The greatest volume of farmed ice in the world is found in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. Every winter, the Ouray Ice Park irrigates 1.5 miles of cliffs in the Uncompahgre Gorge. The Park also hosts the North American Championships and, since 1996, an annual ice festival that attracts climbers from across the globe.

My desire to chase frozen waterfalls is as strong as my love for the town of Ouray. Not only does this lesser-known destination arguably have the best access to ice anywhere, it’s also managed to retain the small-town, western charm that so many other places have lost to corporate ski resorts and the real estate development that follows.