Guided Ice Climbing in Ouray, Colorado Overview
A climber practices mixed climbing in Ouray Ice Park. Zach Lovell.
Our private and instructional Colorado ice climbing programs are based out of downtown Ouray, a charming alpine village nestled in some of the most rugged and towering peaks in the Rockies. Surrounded on three sides by 13,000 foot snowcapped peaks, Ouray’s Ice Park is located in the Uncompagre Gorge, which holds more than 200 iced and mixed climbing routes of all ability levels. The Ouray Ice Park is the best outdoor setting in the United States for learning ice climbing and mixed climbing in a user-friendly setting. With town just a short walk from the ice, you can climb until you’re worked, go into town to relax and rest, then go back out for more climbing.
From mid-December through mid-March, the staff at the Ice Park maintains an “ice farming” array of piping, nozzles and hoses that they use to produce hundreds of excellent routes, and over three miles of climbable ice. With runout, scary testpieces like Mighty Aphrodite (M9 R/X) and bolted routes like Water Torture (M8) only paces away from classic moderate terrain such as the Schoolroom, Ouray is the best place in the United States to learn to ice climb or hone your skills.
Guided Ice Climbing in Ouray, Colorado Pricing and Details
$395 - Private
$275 - (per person) 2 people
$225 - (per person) 3 people
$175 - (per person) 4 people
*Private guided ice courses in Ouray are scheduled on a per-trip basis; please contact the office at 360-671-1505 to discuss dates and availability.
Meeting Time and Location for Full-Day Programs
Courses are available for climbers of all levels; participants will meet their guide at the Camp-Bell's Restaurant in downtown Ouray at 8am, with the day wrapping up around 5pm. If you would like to do a backcountry route, please request the route by name and the AAI office will work with both you and the guide to set an appropriate meeting time and location.
The AAI Gear Rental Package includes crampons, ice tools, helmet, and harness. Please contact the office to rent any/all of this equipment.
For boot rentals, we recommend that you contact the following local business directly:
Ouray Mountain Sports (970) 325-4284
All rentals should be arranged in advance.
Lodging, Shuttle Service, and Directions
If you are traveling by air, Telluride is the closest airport, but Montrose is not much farther and is usually better to fly into. Your travel dates should allow for an arrival in town the day before your program begins and for departure the day after your trip ends. We do not recommend that you fly out any earlier than the day after your course. If you would like assistance arranging travel or a rental vehicle please feel free to contact our Travel Coordinator, Lisa Greif, at 509-972-4028.
You won’t need a car if you only climb in the ice park. You will, however, need a rental car if you plan on climbing any backcountry ice, skiing, or mountaineering; you should come prepared to drive yourself and your instructor to and from the trailhead and climbing areas if this is the case.
Vehicle rental options are available in Telluride and Montrose. A 4-wheel drive vehicle may be required to reach trailheads in some conditions.
strongly recommend that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance that includes trip cancellation coverage. Our climbers and trekkers have had good experience with Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance, the company we recommend. Please contact Ripcord, directly, to discuss options.
Unlike many vacations that are less physically demanding, a climbing and trekking vacation can be ruined by an illness or relatively minor injury that occurs before departure. While you can still tour a city or head to the beach with a sprained ankle or a very bad cold (albeit, less conveniently), such an injury or common illness can stop you in your tracks short of your climbing or trekking destination.
Guided Ice Climbing in Ouray, Colorado Scheduled Courses
The Ouray Ice Park and San Juan backcounty are home to literally hundreds of beginner, intermediate and advanced level single- and multi-pitch ice and mixed routes. Our regularly scheduled programs will have you working on techniques from basic climbing skills, movement, anchor building, rescue technique, to leadership skills on single-pitch terrain or leading multi-pitch routes.
Introductory level climbers will learn the basics of ice climbing, crampons, ice tools, ice screws, ice bollards, belaying, knots and hitches as well as to top-roping techniques. Climbers will learn the basics required to be a competent top-roping partner for more experienced climbers.
Ice Climbing - Intermediate/Advanced Waterfall Ice
Intermediate and advanced level students learn to apply ice climbing techniques on steeper ground and gain the skills to follow and lead climbs in a multi-pitch setting.
Intermediate/Advanced ice courses in Colorado are scheduled on a per-trip basis; please contact the office at 360-671-505 to discuss dates and availability.
Guided Ice Climbing in Ouray, Colorado Related Courses
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