The Black Canyon is Colorado’s premier rock climbing crag and one of the finest climbing venues in North America. Though it has garnered a reputation for being bold, scary and hard, there are numerous classic climbs there on well protected, bullet proof rock at grades below 5.10. The scenery and setting in The Black are beyond comparison. As you view the Gunnison River roaring several thousand feet below you and look upon larger birds from above you begin to realize the immensity of the scale and depth of this amazing place. While awe inspiring, this can also be quite intimidating to experience this place for the first time. Let one of our experienced guides help show you the magic and incredible climbing found there in a safe and instructional setting.

Climbs like Escape Artist, climb from part way down the canyon back to the rim in 7-10 pitches up to 5.10a, every one a multi-star classic pitch in its own right. Lauren’s Arete climbs a striking 5.8 and easier alpine like ridge front the near the bottom of the canyon between several of the major walls. Maiden Voyage is THE classic intro route in the Canyon, commonly climbed in four or five moderate pitches, with a short, 5.9- crux low on the route. If Maiden feels easy, you can finish up with three more fantastic, slightly harder pitches on King Me to make for a modern 8 pitch 5.9+. Perhaps one of the most unique moderate outings in the Black is the 1,300 foot Ground Control To Major Tom, ascending the South Rim in 10-12 pitches up to 5.8. There are numerous others and often the temperatures dictate whether we are seeking sun or shade. Climbing in the Black Canyon is good from spring through autumn.


Participants must have prior rock climbing experience, be familiar with basic knots, belaying a leader, and able to follow or top-rope rock to 5.9. They should also be fit enough to carry a 25 pound pack uphill for an hour at a steady pace and still have energy left for climbing.


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

Gear you should bring, weather and terrain dependent:

Long climbing pants such as the Patagonia Simul Alpine Pant

Shorts for warm weather climbing and approaches.

A selection of cotton and synthetic or wool T-shirts.

Lightweight long sleeve synthetic or wool shirts.

A medium weight synthetic or wool shirt. We use and recommend the Patagonia Capilene 4 Hoody.

One medium weight insulated jacket, such as a Patagonia Piton Hybrid Hoody.

A lightweight emergency rain shell such as the Patagonia Alpine Houdini or M10 Jacket.

Lightweight emergency rain pants such as Patagonia Torrentshell Pants.

One lightweight insulated piece such as a Patagonia Nano puff jacket or pullover.

A lightweight wool or synthetic hat

A pair of lightweight fleece or lightly insulated leather-palmed gloves.



2 locking carabiners

1 belay/rappel device

Rock shoes suitable for climbing all day, generally snug fitting with a sock.

Rock shoes suitable for more difficult pitches, generally snug fitting without a sock.

Good approach shoes are mandatory. Preferably with a sheet rubber sole and not with mold-injected rubber. An example of this is the La Sportiva Boulder X approach shoe.

A simple, climbing-oriented 25 liter backpack such as the Patagonia Ascentionist 25 backpack.




Lipbalm with sunscreen


Ropes, protection, slings and other team technical equipment.


IInterested in a 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