Fundamentals of Alpine Climbing is for newer climbers looking to become competent rope-team members in alpine and mountaineering situations.

Day 1 we spend the first day in the Ouray Ice Park going over all the basics including: How to pack, key climbing-knots, fundamental crampon techniques, and belaying a climber safely. Of course, we will do some climbing and provide you with focused, actionable feedback on how to best develop your technique. This day‘s climbing instruction will concentrate on footing: being secure and efficient on your crampons.

After a short break and dinner we will share an educational and entertaining presentation of one of your guides’ recent alpine climbing adventures.

Day 2 we delve further into the fundamentals of alpine climbing, starting with the specifics and the secrets of effectively using your ice axes. Over lunch we’ll show you how to read the ice, as one of the most important skills in climbing is how to mentally map your ascent before you climb. The final afternoon is split between practicing safe rappelling and rappel-station management with a final graduation climb-and-descent utilizing and cementing all your new-found knowledge.

$650 per person

January 13-14, 2024

February 3-4, 2024

Prerequisites: No prior climbing experience is necessary. Participants should be in good physical health, and capable of moderate to heavy physical exertion for several hours on two consecutive days.


This 3-day intensive workshop is designed for competent intermediate and advanced level ice climbers that wish to hone their skills in a winter environment. Vince Anderson and his team of professionals will help you target and train specific areas for individual improvement when climbing on rock and ice in winter and expeditionary conditions. The class takes place in Ouray Colorado where we will take advantage of the area’s many famous ice routes as well as the surrounding rock walls.

Day 1 will focus on assessment of your skills and identifying and prioritizing areas for improvement. We will model proper techniques and demonstrate unique drills to address your individual needs.

Day 2 will start with us sharing skills related to the non-movement aspects of winter climbing and the afternoon will be spent on further technique development.

Day 3 we will climb backcountry winter routes. Opportunities to attempt first ascents will be presented along with climbs of area classics.

$950 per person

January 26-28, 2024

Prerequisites: Participants must have prior ice and rock climbing experience, be familiar with basic knots, belaying a leader, and able to follow or top-rope WI4 and rock 5.7. They should also be fit enough to carry a 20 kg pack uphill for an hour at a steady pace and still have energy left for climbing.


• Climbing harness with belay/rappel and gear loops.

• Climbing helmet.

• Belay device.

• Two locking carabiners.

• Crampons for technical climbing. (Step in, not strap on)

• Technical ice tools, with hammers. An adze on a tool creates a significant risk to you. If you don’t have a hammer, you may cover the adze with tape and foam so it can’t cut your face if it pops out.

• Ice Tool tethers. This is a long elasticized leash that prevents you from dropping an ice tool. (optional)

• Climbing boots. These must be mountaineering boots. Leather hiking boots won’t work. Good quality climbing boots can be rented from Ouray Mountain Sports. Contact them directly to reserve at (970) 325-4284.

• Hooded shell jacket. A waterproof/breathable (hard shell) jacket is desirable when climbing water ice. If you use a soft shell jacket make sure it is freshly washed and dried as the drying helps to restore the water repellent finish. If we climb in a soft shell we often carry a light waterproof/non-breathable shell such as the Alpine Houdini jacket made by Patagonia.

• Technical climbing pants. Soft or hard shell. Should fit closely around the tops of your boots.

• Gaitors. Nice if your pants are baggy and/or don’t have integrated gaitors to keep the snow out. (optional)

• Synthetic long underwear top and bottoms. Two different weights for different temperature conditions.

• Synthetic mid-weight top. Slightly heavier than the above layer. The Patagonia R1 Hoody is a popular example.

• Warm fleece or sweater top.

• Warm insulating down or synthetic parka that can be worn over all other layers.

• A warm hat which can be worn under your helmet.

• Neck gaiter. Optional, but recommended.

• Two to three pairs of good fitting, non-bulky, warm climbing gloves and mittens. Gloves/mittens usually get wet or damp when ice climbing and it is nice to have a back-up pair with you at all times. Personally we bring two pairs of gloves and one pair of mittens for a day of winter climbing. One thin pair of gloves that are protective but not very warm; these get the most use. One medium pair of gloves that are warmer, but we can still climb with. And one pair of mittens for belaying and for extra cold days. Ski gloves usually have too much material in the palms for climbing.

• Thin synthetic or wool liner gloves. (optional)

• Wool socks to wear in climbing boots. A second thin pair of liner socks is optional for those who tend to get cold feet.

• Sunglasses.

• Sunscreen.

• A 30-40 liter backpack to carry extra clothes, water and food for the day.

• Small headlamp.

• A small personal first aid kit containing bandages and a blister kit.

• Water bottle and/or thermos: You should have one to two quart/liter capacity.

• Lunch/snack food. When climbing in the Ice Park, it is possible to go into town for lunch.

• Camera!

• Bathing suit for hot springs.


Let us know what you DO NOT have. We may have it.


Ropes, protection, slings and other team technical equipment.

The Ice Clinic Workout:

Pull-ups, 5-15 reps, 30 seconds rest. Then:

Strict sit-ups. 10-15 reps, 30 seconds rest. Then:

Isometric Ice-Tool Hangs. 15-20 second one-armed hang off each tool. It helps to wear the gloves you’ll wear climbing. If you can’t do this one-armed, then do it with both arms, but shift more weight to one side at a time for the required time for each side. 30 seconds rest. Then:

Push ups, 10-15 reps, 30 seconds rest. Then:

Repeat circuit three times with a 3 minute rest between laps of the circuit for one workout. Do this workout twice in the first week.

Repeat circuit four times with a 3 minute rest between circuits for one workout. Do it twice a week the second and third week. In week 3 reduce rest between circuits to 2 minutes

Repeat five times the fourth and fifth week. In week four take 2 minutes rest/circuit. In week five take a 1 minute break between laps of the circuit

The sixth week do the workout only once. Do four laps of the circuit with two minutes rest between laps to allow for recovery and super-compensation.

Why pull-ups and push-ups? Because these simple exercise works all the main muscles-groups involved in swinging, and holding onto, an ice tool. If you can’t do five pull-ups, you may want to contact us about a customized strength training plan.

IInterested in a more structured approach to training?

• Read Steve House’s and Scott Johnston’s Book: Training for the New Alpinism

• Check Out Uphill Athlete’s training and coaching options