January 28-30, 2022

February 4-6, 2022


$ 950.00 p.p.

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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. Steve House, Vince Anderson and their 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 one 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 two 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. On day three we will climb backcountry winter routes. Opportunities to attempt first ascents will be presented along with climbs of area classics.


This list may be adjusted by your guide based on the venue and time of season.

Download and Print Gear List

• 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.


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We meet at the Artisan Bakery at 7:00am on the first day of the course:

Ouray, CO

Directions from Denver

The Winter Alpine Intensive is, well, intense. Typically we climb five to ten pitches each day, ending the day quite tired. In order to train for this you want to have a good circuit that involves a selection of climbing-oriented exercises such as: Pull-ups, strict sit-ups, ice axe hangs, and, if you’re up for it, the treadmill hand-walking drill.

The Winter Alpine Intensive circuit outlined below utilizes a muscular endurance protocol designed to train your fast-twitch muscle fibers to have greater endurance.

Winter Alpine Intensive Circuit:
Warm up by running on the treadmill, or skipping rope, for a minimum of ten minutes.
5-15 repetitions of each exercise make up one set. After completing a set, rest five minutes before starting the next set. As you progress, shorten the rest period between sets. If you can do more than fifteen of any exercise, and still complete the full five sets, add weight.
• Pull-ups, 5-15 reps, one-minute rest. Then:
• Strict sit-ups, 5-15 reps, one-minute rest. If this is too easy, substitute hanging leg raises. Then:
• Ice Axe Hangs. Hang from your ice tools until you start shaking slightly. It helps to wear gloves. Then:
• Bonus exercise: Treadmill Hand-walking. 15 seconds.


Repeat this circuit 3-5 times, with five minutes rest between circuit laps. The first week repeat this circuit two times. Progress the difficulty of the circuit slightly each week by reducing the rest time between circuits by 1 minute each week so that by the 6th week you take no rest between circuits. This protocol will greatly increase the muscular endurance of your ice-climbing-specific muscles.

Interested in a more structured approach to training?


Participant 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.

Booking & Information

Do you have questions? Please don't hesitate to give us a call. If we are not immediately available, we are outside climbing, skiing or exploring the wilderness. Leave us a message and we will call you back.

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