Basic Information

Beginning Ice

Our ice climbing school offers ice climbing instruction and and our ice climbing guide service leads guided ice climbs in the Boulder, Colorado area and elsewhere.  Boulder ice climbing, Denver ice climbing, and Colorado ice climbing are famous for excellent conditions.

GUIDED ICE CLIMBS - We employ ice climbing guides with years of experience. 

ICE CLIMBING LESSONS - We teach ice climbing in the cold months, December through March (depending upon conditions) in the Boulder area where naturally occuring ice formations are ideal for instruction and climbing under a wide variety of situations at all levels of difficulty. We also travel to other ice climbing areas.

For beginning ice, intermediate ice, leading on ice, two day basic ice courses, snow climbing and glacier travel courses, and custom designed ice courses our ice climbing instructors plan lessons to suit client's experience and ambitions.

We offer ice climbing instruction for everyone, novice to advanced. Our beginning courses provide a solid foundation which has enabled many of our students to go on to successfully complete some of the most difficult and challenging climbs all over the world. We teach snow climbing and glacier travel in the high-country May through October. We organize climbing trips to places such as the Alps. See our Climbing Trips page.

The following lessons are suggestions - other lessons can be designed to fit individual needs.

CLASSES - are either private or semi-private and can be scheduled at any time at your convenience. We maintain a low student to instructor ratio for better quality and safety control.

TIME AND PLACE - by arrangement, usually at 8 or 9 a.m.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE - is not required for beginning lessons. For more advanced instruction or guided climbs we expect students to be proficient in fundamental climbing techniques such as safety, knots, rope handling, belaying, and rappelling.


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What to Bring

We provide all technical equipment including helmets, harnesses. plastic boots, crampons, and ice tools. Students are encouraged to bring any of their own equipment they wish to use.


Warm clothing equivalent to ski clothing such as:

Long underwear
Warm pants and shirt
Fleece jacket
Waterproof/breathable outer layer (Gore-Tex jacket and pants or the equivalent)
Warm hat and ear protector that can be worn beneath a helmet
Ice climbing or ski gloves
Warm socks
UV protective sunglasses or glacier goggles


Down or synthetic parka
Extra glove liners of fleece or wool
Unbreakable thermos with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate
Camera and extra film

Note: When climbing in Boulder Canyon we usually take a lunch break and drive to a coffee shop in nearby Nederland. When visiting other locations we bring our lunches.


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Recommended Reading

Mountaineering the Freedom of the Hills by the Seattle Mountaineers

How to Ice Climb! by Craig Luebben



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Private $200 $300
Semi-Private ( 2 or more students) $150 each $200 each
Groups ( 5 or more students) $85 each $125 each


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Beginning Ice



Full-day or half-day overview of fundamental ice climbing procedures. The use of crampons and hand tools for movement on steep ice is practiced on top-rope ice climbs. Ice conditions and safety procedures are discussed. Anchor placement is demonstrated.

A good introductory experience providing a taste of the sport.


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Intermediate Ice



Full-day or half-day lesson for those with some ice climbing experience.

Practice climbing and skills training under the close supervision of an experienced instructor is a quick way to improve your ice climbing ability.

We structure each lesson to suit the ability and goals of each student with emphasis upon more challenging climbs. Vertical ice, thin ice, mixed ice, and dry-tooling are some of the topics covered.


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Leading on Ice

Full-day or half-day lessons for solid intermediate ice climbers who want to develop the specific skills needed for leading ice climbs. We emphasize efficient movement and energy conservation, choosing a route, and estimating ice conditions. Various types of protection devices will be demonstrated and practiced, including ice screws, hooks, pound-ins, and v-threads. Students will practice placing anchors. With a top-rope for safety, students will "lead" pitches while placing their own protection. The instructor will second these pitches and remove the screws, evaluating the placements.

Do your first ice lead under the close supervision of an instructor. Ideal as a follow-up to our two day basic ice course.


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Two Day Basic Ice


This complete course for beginners is an excellent first step towards becoming an accomplished ice climber. Two full-days of instruction and practice climbing familiarize students with the fundamental techniques of steep ice climbing.

Basic ice climbing topics are covered including techniques for efficient crampon and tool use, footwork, anchor placement, energy conservation, mental preparedness, and gear selection. Students will climb second on ice of varying degrees of steepness in a variety of conditions.

Special exercises will be used to help facilitate rapid progress.


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 Custom Designed Ice Courses

Build your own course with any combination of lessons and climbs. Any number of full days or half days with instruction or guided climbs to gain ice climbing experience is possible. Course can be taught in the Boulder area, or in other areas. It can involve climbs in multiple areas, even multiple countries. Your imagination is the only limit.

A possibility would be to take two days of basic instruction in Boulder Canyon followed by a road trip.

Another idea might be a "classic ice climbs of Colorado" trip that hits all the high points of several famous climbing areas. The choice is yours.


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Snow Climbing and Glacier Travel

Full-day lesson in the high-country where you will learn to travel on snow by kicking steps, cramponing, and step-cutting. Practice self-arrests, glissading, and belaying on snow fields. Learn how to set up belay anchors and rappel anchors on snow.

Learn to use the ice axe for general mountain climbing and descending.

Crevasse hazards and rescue will be demonstrated.

These techniques are basic for all mountaineers and should be a part of your climbing skills. A day on the snowfields can provide you with invaluable skills.


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