Looking to try to ice climbing? Join us at the Ouray Ice Park for beginner to advanced level instruction. The Ouray Ice Park boasts nearly 200 ice climbs for climbers to enjoy. The Ouray Ice Park is open from roughly late December to early March. We offer custom days based on ability level. If you’re new to ice climbing, we will teach you the basics of ice tool placements and ice climbing movement. If you have experience with ice climbing, we teach advanced movement techniques on climbs up to WI5+, mixed climbing, ice protection, following ice climbs, and mock-leading ice.

The Ouray Ice Park is suitable for all ability levels, ages 8 and older. Please let us know if you’d like us to help share ice climbing with young children!

Prerequisites: No prior ice climbing experience needed.


Silverton is home to Eureka, a world-class ice climbing destination. We offer multi-pitch ice climbing experiences on WI3-WI5+. Classic ice climbs for the area include Whore House Hoses, Stairway to Heaven, Highway to Hell, and Goldrush. Participants will lead belay their guide up several pitches of ice and follow their guide, cleaning ice screws, and preparing for the next pitch. The routes are descended by either rappel or walk-off.

Ratio: 2:1 Participant to Guide. You can expect the temperatures to be variable in the backcountry! Below freezing, heavy snow, or bright sun are all possibilities. Please be advised that climbing a particular route in the Silverton/Red Mountain area cannot be guaranteed due to weather considerations.

Prerequisites: Participants must have prior ice or rock climbing experience, be familiar with basic knots and belaying a leader.


Perhaps one of the most iconic ice climbs in the region, Bridal Veil is a unique 400+ foot WI5+ ice climb in Telluride CO. Three pitches take you through steep, winding, an sometimes even tunneling terrain. If you have experience following multi-pitch ice, this climb is not to be missed.

Ratio: 2:1 Participant to Guide.

Prerequisites: Participants must have prior ice or rock climbing experience, be familiar with basic knots and belaying a leader.


• 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