Overview:

Designed for first-timers as well as those with some climbing experience, these 7- and 14-day courses provide a comprehensive introduction to the world of outdoor rock climbing. AMGA Certified Rock Guide(s) will deliver a tried-and-true curriculum, developed and honed over tens of thousands of days of climbing instruction. Upon graduating, you will be a confident and solid intermediate to advanced-level rock climber. Choose the course format that best fits your goals:

7-Day Instructional Climbing Option

Learn to climb like a professional by building a solid foundation of the knowledge, skills, and movement required to get into the sport. After just one week, you’ll be transformed into a confident intermediate rock climber, empowered to climb a diverse set of top-rope or lead single pitch routes, with a solid introduction to multi-pitch climbing systems and techniques.

14-Day Experiential Climbing Option

Your AMGA-Certified Rock Guide will introduce you to the world of rock climbing and teach you the advanced skills needed to make you a capable climbing partner and confident multi-pitch leader. By the end of this course, students will be prepared to lead their own multi-pitch trad climbs at any climbing venue in the world. This course is packed with climbing mileage and culminates with a long, student-led multi-pitch rock route.

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1: Rock Climbing Fundamentals & Technique

Day 2: Anchor Clinic

Day 3: Learn to Lead Sport

Day 4: Multi-Pitch Rock Climbing

Day 5: Flatiron Climb

Day 6: Learn To Lead Trad

Day 7: Learn To Lead Trad (continued)

Day 8: Single-Pitch Practicum

Day 9: Aid Climbing and Alpine Climbing Considerations

Day 10: Rock Rescue

Day 11: Rock Rescue (continued)

Day 12: Multi-Pitch Practicum

Day 13: Eldorado Canyon / Lumpy Ridge Multi-Pitch Climb

Day 14: Student-Lead Multi-Pitch Graduation Climb

Meeting location:

Colorado Mountain School
633 S Broadway St.
Boulder, CO 80305

Details:

This course is available on any date when registering a minimum of two participants. It is designed to run at low ratios with the flexibility to accommodate students’ specific skills and goals.

Notes:

This program is instructed by AMGA Certified Rock Guides. Potential climbing areas include Eldorado Canyon State Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and The Flatirons.

Day 1 – Rock Climbing Fundamentals & Technique

Goals: Students will be proficient in the following skills: fitting harness and helmet, basic knots, belaying, rappelling, climbing commands and communication, basic rock climbing movement skills. Students will have a solid understanding of how the top-rope system works.

Day 2 – Anchor Clinic

Goals: Students will learn to build top rope anchors in a variety of situations while maintaining a high degree of personal and group security. Topics include fixed and natural anchors, materials and evaluation, “EARNEST” standards.

Day 3 – Learn to Lead Sport

Goals: Students will learn how to adequately assess risk, identify quality fixed gear, demonstrate proper clipping technique, demonstrate proper lead belaying technique, be able to thread, clean and lower from a bolted anchor.

Day 4 – Multi-Pitch Rock Climbing

Goals: Students will learn how to belay a lead climber, remove and rack protection, rope and stance management. Students will also have the experience of climbing a multi-pitch rock route and an understanding of the system and processes involved.

Day 5 – Flatiron Climb

Goals: To increase students exposure to all previously covered skills and gain mastery experientially on a classic climb.

Day 6 & 7 – Learn to Lead Trad

Goals: Students will learn the tools needed to become a secure and efficient traditional lead climber. Students will leave the course with a clear understanding of how to approach the process of gaining more experience.

Day 8 – Single-Pitch Practicum

Goals: Students will demonstrate leading traditional climbs and receive assessment and feedback from their guide. Students will gain a clear understanding of what skills they have a good grasp of which skills they most need to improve in order to be a safe and efficient trad rock lead climber.

Day 9 – Aid Climbing & Alpine Considerations

Goals: Students will learn improvised aid climbing techniques, increase their understanding of critical alpine hazards and risk management strategies and develop a process for creating trip plans and timelines.

Day 10 & 11 – Rock Rescue

Goals: Students will learn techniques to handle a variety of scenarios, from retrieving a stuck rappel rope, to hauling their partner through the crux in the rain, to dealing with an injury on the rock, raising and lowering systems, improvised ascending and complex rappelling transitions.

Day 12 – Multi-Pitch Practicum

Goals: Students will be introduced to the sharp end of the rope as appropriate in order to gain experience leading multi-pitch rock climbs.

Day 13 – Eldorado Canyon / Lumpy Ridge Multi-Pitch Climb

Goals: To increase students exposure to all previously covered skills and gain mastery experientially on a classic climb. This day is primarily intended for the guide to model and discuss multi-pitch leading techniques.

Day 14 – Student-Lead Multi-Pitch Graduation Climb

Goals: With guide assistance, students will choose route objectives, make climbing plans and lead a multi-pitch climb. This is the students’ day to demonstrate on lead, everything they’ve learned – receiving feedback as appropriate.

Prerequisites:

No experience required.

Time:

8:00am - 4:00pm

Duration:

7 Days or 14 Days

Maximum Ratio:

4:1 (single-pitch climbing); 2:1 (multi-pitch climbing)

Minimum Age:

18 Years

Includes:

  • AMGA Certified Rock Guide or Guides
  • Group climbing gear
    • Technical hardware – climbing protection, carabiners,etc
    • Ropes
    • Technical softgoods – slings, cordellette, etc
  • Personal climbing gear
    • Harness
    • Helmet
    • Rock shoes

Excludes:

  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Lodging
  • Clothing, backpack and non-technical personal items
  • Park Entrance Fees (where applicable)
  • Rescue Insurance
  • Trip Insurance
  • Gratuity
  • Expenses due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of Colorado Mountain School
Item Description Quantity Example Purchase At Rent At Equipment Type
Alpine Quickdraws

24” (shoulder-length) runners with 2 non-locking carabiners per runner (Alpine Draws).

4-8

CAMP 11mm Express Dyneema

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Approach Shoes

These are “hiking” shoes specifically made for approaching and descending from a climbing venue where scrambling is necessary, or even for climbing an entire route. They have sticky climbing rubber on the bottom and a formed fit to influence better climbing abilities while scrambling. Consider high-tops for additional ankles support if needed. Regular hiking boots or athletic shoes may be acceptable for many climbs.

1

Men: La Sportiva TX3 Men
Women: La Sportiva TX3 Wmn

 

 

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Athletic Tape

Roll of 1.5-2” tape; These are best found at rock climbing gyms or shops such as Neptune Mountaineering. Not all tape works well for climbing - gear shops have usually identified a brand that works well - the local pharmacy has not.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

 

 

Optional
Autoblock

This is a small sewn loop to assist in rappelling. The #1 choice on the market is the Sterling Hollowblock, or the Sterling Autoblock.

1

Sterling Auto Block

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Backpack: 18-25 liter

This small pack is carries one’s approach shoes, water, food, extra layers, and toilet kit on the route. This pack should close completely so that no items can fall out.

1

CAMP M2 20L

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Belay and Rappel Device

Plaquette style devices with auto-block mode are ideal.

1

CAMP Piu 2

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Belay Gloves

Leather gloves, either full fingered or fingerless. These protect your hands from rope wear when belaying or rappelling and keep your hands warm at belays.

1

CAMP Axion

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Chalk Bag

Holds climbing chalk, which is usually made from Magnesium Carbonate. This is the same compound that gymnasts, weightlifters, and other athletes will put on their hands in order to improve friction and grip.

1

CAMP Patabang

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Climbing Harness

UIAA or CE approved; With belay loop and gear loops. The waist belt should fit over multiple layers of clothing.

1

CAMP Laser CR

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School

Equipment
Climbing Pants, Shorts or Capris

For all seasons, cotton, loose-fitting (or tight, stretchy) pants are usually acceptable for rock climbing. Shorts are acceptable during the summer - though shorts expose the knees and shins to abrasions. New climbers are encouraged to wear pants or capris. A synthetic material (like in softshell pants) may be required by your guide due to potential rain storms.

1

Men: Rab Vapour Rise
Women: Rab womens Vapour-rise pants

Rab Stores

Clothing
Climbing Rack

1-2 sets of cams, 1 set stoppers.

1

Black Diamond Camalot, CAMP Pro Nuts

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Cotton Socks

Cotton Socks are acceptable for most rock climbing days. Synthetic and merino wool socks tend to be too hot and make climber’s feet sweat excessively.

1

Point 6 Socks

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Double-length Sewn Runner

48" or 120cm. Used for rappelling, making leashes, and improvised rescue.

1-2

CAMP 11mm Express Dyneema

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
First Aid Kit

Your guide will have an emergency First Aid Kit. You should bring a small kit including blister prevention and care products such as a role of athletic tape and Moleskin. Your kit should also contain a few Band-aids, some Tylenol and Ibuprofen.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Food

Proper lunches that are prepared ahead of time are recommended (sandwich, burrito, leftover pizza, etc), along with an assortment of snack bars, gels, or trail mixes. Feeze-dried meals are acceptable on overnight trips, but not day trips.

1

Made in Nature, Thrive Tribe

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Lightweight Baselayer Top

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Worn against the skin and is considered a "wicking" layer that facilitates the movement of moisture away from the skin and through the layers. Hooded base layers add extra versatility.

2

Men: Rab Merino 120 Long Sleeve
Women: Rab Merino 120 Long Sleeve

Rab Store

Clothing
Lip ScreenSPF 15 or higher.

Non-SPF rated lip balms can actually increase your chances of getting burned.

1

Rocky Mountain Sunscreen Lip Balm

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Long and Short Sleeve T-shirt

Cotton or Synthetic and Merino Wool; Bring a variety of short-sleeve or tank tops, and a few long-sleeve. Long sleeve cotton t-shirts can be nice for the crack climbing days. Synthetic shirts are not required for rock climbing, but some may prefer the feel and quick-dry performance.

1

Rab Route Tee

Rab Store

Clothing
Midweight Baselayer Top

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Adds extra warmth and protection from the cold and wind without creating a moisture barrier as a jacket would. Having at least one base layer that is hooded adds versatility, protecting the neck and ears from cold winds.

1

Men: Rab Merino 160 Hoody
Women: Rab Flux Pull-On

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Non-locking Carabiners

Most climbers prefer wire-gated carabiners due to their light weight and low bulk, among other useful characteristics.

2-3

CAMP Nano 22

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Nut Tool

For removing rock protection.

1

CAMP Nut Tool

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Prussik Cord

1m of 6mm nylon accessory cord. Tech cord (kevlar, spectra) is not acceptable.

2

Sterling HollowBlock

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Rock Climbing Helmet

UIAA/CE approved; Should be large enough to fit over a beanie. Plastic helmets are more durable, but heavier. Foam helmets are lighter, but more easily damaged when carried in a pack.

1

CAMP Titan

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School

Equipment
Rock Climbing Shoes

Technical rock shoes are required. For beginning climbers, having a looser fit is advisable. In this case, loose means that toes are touching the front of the shoes when standing, but are not forced against the front of the shoe. In colder weather, thin socks inside climbing shoes are a great option. On long routes, rock shoes should be comfortable enough to wear for day.

1

La Sportiva TC Pro

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Smartphone

Great for taking photos and videos. Smartphone batteries tend to shut down in freezing temps - keep your phone in a warm inner layer. A tether is ideal in the mountains to protet against dropping your phone.

1 Optional
Softshell and Fleece Jacket

Water-resistant, windproof, yet it "breaths," which means it allows moisture to move through. Hoods are ideal. There are multiple thicknesses of Softshell jackets. A lightweight or medium-weight jacket is preferred. Fleece jackets are acceptable.

1

Men: Rab Alpha Direct
Women: Rab Alpha Direct

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Sports Bra

Provides support and allows for full range of motion

1

North Face Beyond the Wall

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Sun Hat

A billed hat to keep the sun at bay during the approach and descent.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Sunglasses

"Wrap-Around" style sunglasses with 100% UV Protection.

1

Julbo Shield

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
SunscreenSPF 30 or higher.

Travel size.

1

Rocky Mountain Sunscreen SPF 50

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Trash Bag

Lining the inside of your pack with a heavy duty trash bag will keep the contents of your pack dry on rainy days.

1 Optional
Watch with Altimiter

An altimeter is very useful in gauging progression of altitude gain or loss when climbing, and especially when visibility is decreased due to weather. Many Altimeter watches have compasses or GPS tracking functions.

1

Suunto Vector; Suunto Core

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Water Bottles

1 liter bottles are the standard. Bladders such as Camelbacks and Platypus are acceptable for above freezing temps, but only in conjunction with another bottle. Bladders are not acceptable during sub freezing temps. Sports drinks are also acceptable.

2

Nalgene, Hydro Flask

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Waterproof Shell Jacket

Non-insulated, Gore-Tex, Dermizax, Event, or other waterproofing system is required. Mostly, this jacket sits in the bottom of your pack and comes out when the weather gets nasty with precipitation. This jacket should fit over all other layers.

1

Men: RAB Latok
Women: RAB Women's Ladakh DV Jacket

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing

Reviews

  1. T. Stocker

    My experience is based on a long-term relationship with Colorado Mountain School beginning in 2006 and continuing thereafter. During this 8 year period, I’ve regularly used CMS guides on my climbing outings and specialized classes, such as self-rescue. All trips have been to current AMGA standards for safety, techniques and equipment, and mainly – fun! Rock climbing is a complex endeavor, especially multi-pitch traditional climbing. If you want to learn to do it correctly, safely, and have fun in the process, you will not go wrong by using CMS guides.

  2. Bret

    Amazing Guides and Instruction – This review is long overdue. I have been using Colorado Mountain School (CMS) since 2009 for avalanche, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, rock climbing, ice climbing, and alpine climbing instruction and guiding. The entire process is flawless. Working with office staff to book trips, staying at the Hostel, taking courses, and trips is effortless. The instruction is clear, concise, and based on current AMGA standards. The guides are friendly, encouraging, and strong. Based on CMS’ instruction, I have progressed to climb Mt McKinley (Denali) and to become a strong lead climber on sport, trad, ice, and alpine. Thanks to all of my instructors including Bob Chase, Andrew Councell, and Russell Hunter. Your focus on safety in integral to my climbing life!

  3. Marathon, FL

    We climbed six days with CMS and have only good things to say. Totally professional and safety conscious. Our guide was Buster Jesik, born and raised locally. He shows a passionate love of the outdoors, has tons of alpine experience, and was an effective teacher. He was responsive to our desire to learn and improve, and challenged us each time we went climbing. Great trip, highly recommended activity.

  4. Lieutenant Colonel Heath Wharton, USAF (Ret.)

    I expected some basic instruction and what I got was the most enjoyable week of climbing and high-altitude mountaineering lessons I could have asked for. We laughed, we learned, we had a blast…best week I’ve had in a long time. Max was patient, clearly passionate about the craft, and deserves the title of your best mountain guide. We joked about him being an average astronaut, but I think it went over his head.

    Thanks for a great week CMS–as the director of training for Chaffee County Search and Rescue, I’ll be referring more people to your course and hope to attend a few more myself. Truly– World Class Instruction!

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