Overview:

Leading ice climb requires an experienced ice climber to refine their skills in order to manage the risks associated with leading.  It’s a huge transition.  Our Learn to Lead Ice Climbing course provides you with the knowledge and experience you need to begin a transition from toproping ice and seconding lead climbers to leading climbs of your own. This course will help you plan your lead, refine your movement so that you have the stamina to lead, place ice screws in the best available ice to protect climbs, and anchor and belay once you reach the end of their lead.

Our instructors deploy a combination of lecture and discussion, demonstration, mock leading, and mini climb exercises to provide enough conceptual and hands-on learning opportunities to meet students’ needs.  They provide coaching and feedback along the way, so that you can continually assess your learning.  Finally, our instructors help you design an individualized pathway leading from the end of coursework to your very first actual lead climb on ice.

Sample Itinerary:

Itineraries may vary according to the needs of students, the weather, the venue, or the conditions of the climbs, the following itinerary is a common example of this class generally unfolds:

8am:  Introductions, Orientation, and Equipment Primer

9am: Transport to Venue.

9:30am:  Approach

10:30am:  Visual Mapping Lesson and Lead Demonstration

11am: Mock Lead 1

12pm: Lunch

12:30pm: Anchoring and Top Belaying Lesson

1:30pm: Lead to Top Belay Practice on Mini Climbs

2:30pm:  Review Session

3pm:  Hike out

4pm: Debriefs

Meeting location:

Colorado Mountain School
341 Moraine Avenue
Estes Park, CO 80517

Lodging:

If you require lodging at our Estes Park Adventure Hostel, please make your reservations online in advance. Beds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Our hostel features 16 beds in 3 rooms, bathrooms, showers, a full kitchen with appliances, dishes and utensils, wi-fi, ping-pong table, and a lounge area. Please be considerate of others lodgers during your stay.

Notes:

All of our courses can be run as custom outings.  If you’re interested in a course, but it doesn’t fit into your schedule, please check out our custom guiding options.

All Upcoming Dates and Locations:

  • December 19, 2020 - December 19, 2020 - Learn to Lead Ice - Estes Park, Colorado
  • February 20, 2021 - February 20, 2021 - Learn to Lead Ice - Colorado, Estes Park
  • February 6, 2021 - February 6, 2021 - Learn to Lead Ice - Estes Park, Colorado
  • January 23, 2021 - January 23, 2021 - Learn to Lead Ice - Estes Park, Colorado
  • January 2, 2021 - January 2, 2021 - Learn to Lead Ice - Estes Park, Colorado
  • March 20, 2021 - March 20, 2021 - Learn to Lead Ice - Estes Park, Colorado

Topics Include:

  • Lead climbing demonstrations
  • Create visual map and action plan for lead climbs.
  • Mock lead multiple climbs, with coaching and review from an instructor on movement, ice screw placements, and risk management.
  • Introduction to fundamentals of anchoring, direct belaying, rope management, and top site management.
  • Co-create a post-course training plan that culminates in your very first lead climb.

Prerequisites:

Previous ice climbing experience, preferably an Intro to Ice Course or comparable training.

Preparation:

Minimally Prepared:

Students without any lead climbing experience can learn a lot from the Learn to Lead Ice course, but they will want to learn some lead climbing and lead belaying skills at a local climbing gym or by taking a trad climbing and sport climbing class with CMS.   At that point, students will be proficient enough with risk management and fall protection systems to consider their first lead climbs on ice.

Adequately Prepared:

Students will be adequately prepared to participate in the Learn to Lead Ice course if they at least minimally proficient with toproping on ice and seconding ice climbs, and they also have some experience leading sport climbs both indoors and outdoors.  These students might want to learn some traditional rock climbing skills to bolster their risk management skills, prior to attempting their first leads on ice.

Most Prepared:

Students will be the most prepared for the Learn to Lead Ice course if they have already done some traditional lead climbing on rock.  The risk management and technical tools trad climbers learn on rock climbs prepare them to translate their skills to ice.  Also, students need to proficient toproping and seconding ice climbs.  These students are most likely to make their first ice leads sooner than students who are less prepared.

Time:

8:00am - 4:00pm

Duration:

1 Day

Maximum Ratio:

5:1

Minimum Age:

Please call to register participants under 18
Experience Level

Intermediate

Activity Level

Moderate

Discipline

Ice Climbing

Duration

Multi-Day

Includes:

  • Trained and/or certified guide
  • Group climbing gear
    • Technical hardware – climbing/ice protection, carabiners,etc
    • Ropes
    • Technical softgoods – slings, cordellette, etc
  • Personal climbing gear
    • Harness
    • Helmet
    • Boots
    • Crampons specific to water ice climbing
    • Ice Tools
    • Avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe (if needed)

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
Auto Block

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: 20-40 liter

Packs smaller than this tend not to be able to carry the necessary amount of equipment and clothing. Large backpacking packs are acceptable, depending on the climb.

1

CAMP M3 30L

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School

Equipment
Backpack: 35-50 liter

Packs smaller than this tend not to be able to carry the necessary amount of equipment and clothing. Large backpacking packs are acceptable, depending on the climb.

1

CAMP M4 40L

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Baselayer Bottoms

Synthetic or Merino Wool; Lightweight or mid-weight are recommended.

1

Men: Rab Forge Leggings
Women: Rab Forge Leggings

Rab

Clothing
Beanie or Fleece Hat

Should cover the ears and fit under a helmet. Hats with fluff balls on top do not fit under helmets.

1

Rab Logo Beanie

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Belay and Rappel Device

Plaquette style devices with auto-block mode are ideal.

1

CAMP Piu 2

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
Cordelette

5m section of 7mm diameter nylon cord. 7mm nylon is the standard for rock climbing, while 6mm cord is acceptable for certain applications in alpine climbing and ski mountaineering due to the lower forces involved.

2

Sterling Cordelette

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Double-length Sewn Runner

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

1-2

CAMP 11mm Express Dyneema

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Face Mask (PPE)

Should be made with at least two layers of fabric. Your mask needs to cover your nose and mouth without large gaps. The mask should have ear loops or ties so you can adjust it. Look for a mask with a bendable border at the top so you can mold the mask to fit the bridge of your nose and prevent your glasses from fogging.

2 Clothing
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
Gaiters

These are instrumental when wearing crampons. They protect your softshell pants from getting ripped and keep snow out of your boots.

1

RAB Latok Extreme Gaiter GTX

RAb Store

Clothing
Headlamp

Load with fresh batteries. Critical for hiking before sunrise and great to have in the pack in case you are caught out after dark.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Heavyweight Waterproof Glove

This glove comes out when the winter going gets cold and wet or at higher altitudes.

1

RAB Storm Glove

Rab Store

Clothing
Hot Drinks

Coffee, tea, hot cocoa are great for warming up when it's cold outside.

1

Cusa Tea; Alpine Start Coffee

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Ice Crampons

Steel crampons with vertical front points are ideal. Must be semi-rigid and compatible with your boots.

1

CAMP Blade Runner

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Ice Tools

Ice tools are specifically for ice climbing and have curved shafts and more aggressive picks (different from a mountaineering axe).

2

CAMP X-Dream

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; 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 Forge LS Tee
Women: Rab Force LS Tee

Rab Store

Clothing
Lightweight Gloves

Synthetic; Thin gloves used when hiking the early morning approach. Belay gloves can suffice if full-fingered.

1

RAB Power Stretch Pro

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
Locking Carabiners

Pear shaped carabiners are most versatile - screwgates or twist locks are acceptable.

2-3

CAMP Guide Lock

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
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 Nucleus Hoody
Women: Rab Nucleus Hoody

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Midweight Softshell Glove

This is the workhorse glove and is most often worn on warmer days when mountaineering. Softshell gloves are water-resistant and durable. They often have leather palms and fingers.

1

RAB Guide2 GTX Glove

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Mountaineering Boots

Waterproof, insulated, leather or synthetic boots. Two levels of boots can be appropriate depending on the season, conditions, and personal needs. These boots have rigid and semi-rigid soles so they climb rock well and are compatible with crampons. 1. Lightweight (May - October): This is a single-layer, semi-insulated, waterproof boot, such as the La Sportiva Trango Cube. 2. Mid-weight (October - June): This is a single-layer, insulated boot, such as the La Sportiva Nepal.

1

Men: La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX 0r G5
Women: La Sportiva Nepal Cube GTX Women's or G5

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Neck Gaiter

"Buffs" are quite versatile in their uses. They can be used as light beanies, neck warmers, and can offer face protection from the cold wind or sun.

1

CMS Neck Gaiter

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Personal Care Items

Medications, glasses or contacts, feminine products, etc.

1 Optional
Personal Toilet Kit

At minimum, bring a small Ziploc with toilet paper. Consider bringing a travel sized package of hand-wipes. Idealy, purchase, or for free from the RMNP Backcountry office, bring a "Rest Stop." The Rest Stop, known as "Blue Bags" in the Pacific Northwest, or the "Wag Bag" in other areas, are poop-in-a-bag systems that include toilet paper and a sanitizing hand wipe.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
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
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
Snowshoes

Great for walking over snow. Snowshoes work by distributing the weight of the person over a larger area so that the foot does not sink (posthole) into the snow.

1

MSR

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School

Equipment
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 Salvo Jacket
Women: Rab Salvo Jacket

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Softshell Pants

Softshell material is stretchy, wind-proof, water-resistant, and resists abrasion. Mid-weight is recommended and light-weight pants can work for warm days. Typical thin, nylon "hiking pants" are generally not tough enough.

1

Men: Rab Vapour Rise Guide
Women: Rab Vapour Rise Guide

Rab Store

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
Synthetic or Down Puffy Jacket

Fits over all other layers and is worn at breaks and on really cold days. Synthetic puffies are more durable, are easily laundered, and dry out quickly if wet. Down puffies are lighter weight, pack smaller, and provide exceptional warmth, but once wet, they stay wet.

1

Men: Rab Electron Jacket
Women: Rab Electron Jacket

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Synthetic or Merino Wool Socks

Wool and synthetic blends are great for long days on the trail. "Ski" and "Snowboard" socks are especially useful when warmth is desired.

2

Point 6 Hiking Light Crew

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Thermos

Many ice climbers prefer to bring a thermos of hot water or soup instead of one of their water bottles.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Toe Warmers and Hand Heaters

Help keep you warm on particularly cold days.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
Trekking Poles

Adjustable and without powder basket.

1-2

CAMP Backcountry

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School

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 Ladakh GTX Jacket
Women: RAB Women's Kangri GRX Jacket

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing

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