Overview:

The five-day Mountaineering Development Series course is the perfect introduction to mountaineering. Don’t let the winter months keep you inside. With plenty of climbing and skills work, individuals will learn the basic of mountaineering. Start with snow travel skills – such as travelling as a roped team,  techniques for walking in crampons, using a mountaineering axe properly and self-arresting a fall. – and end the course doing a big mountaineering route in Rocky Mountain National Park. This course is a great first step towards winter ascents, glaciated peaks, and expeditions.

Prerequisites:

No experience necessary

Time:

Days 1-4: 8:00am – 4:00pm, Day 5: Roughly 6:00am - 4:00pm

Duration:

5 Days with multiple participants; 4 Days with one

Maximum Ratio:

6:1 and 3:1

Minimum Age:

Please call to register participants under 18

Meeting location:

Colorado Mountain School
341 Moraine Avenue
Estes Park, CO 80517

Lodging:

Colorado Mountain School offers a 16 bunk lodge that is conveniently located upstairs from our office and classroom in downtown Estes Park.  The lodge features a full kitchen, WiFi, a lounge and hot showers. Reserve a bed now for just $40 per night (plus tax).

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.

Day 1: Snow travel skills – Learn how to travel as a roped team, including belaying, techniques for efficient travel in crampons, using a mountaineering axe and self-arresting a fall.

Day 2: Climb a route – We’ve covered a lot of great skills on day one, now let’s put them to use. We’ll head out and climb a route that best suits the group and conditions.

Day 3: Advanced rock climbing skills or ice climbing – If ice is available, the group will learn the skills needed to climb technical ice. If ice hasn’t formed, we’ll focus on skills needed to climb rock and mixed routes in winter conditions.

Day 4: Navigation/route preparation – After three days of climbing and working on skills, it is time for a bit of a break (physically). Navigation is a necessary skill to have if you plan on spending any time in the mountains. We’ll work on map and compass skills and prep for our big climb the next day.

Day 5: Mountaineering Objective – Time to head in and do a big mountaineering route.  We’ll utilize all the skills we learned over the past 4 days.

Includes:

  • Trained and/or certified guide
  • Group climbing gear
    • Technical hardware – climbing protection, carabiners,etc
    • Ropes
    • Technical softgoods – slings, cordellette, etc
  • Personal climbing gear
    • Harness
    • Helmet
    • Boots
    • Rock shoes
    • Crampons
    • Ice Ax
    • Avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe

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
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 Merino 120 Pants
Women: Rab Merino 120 Pants

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Beanie/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 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
Belay/Rappel Device

Plaquette style devices with auto-block mode are ideal.

1

CAMP Piu 2

Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
Climbing Harness

UIAA/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
Compass

Used for navigation and orientation. A compass with adjustable declination is preferrable.

1

Silva Ranger CLQ

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
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, and/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

Neptune Mountaineering

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 Alliance

Neptune Mountaineering

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
Laptop

Useful for navigation courses, including hiking and ski tour planning.

1 Optional
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

Neptune Mountaineering

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

Neptune Mountaineering

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
Mechanical Pencil

Great for taking notes in the field.

1 Optional
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 Merino 160 Long Sleeve

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 Guide

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Mountaineering Axe

Utilized in ascending or descending snow slopes. Ideal length is variable based on terrain and height of person.

1

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
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: Scarpa Grand DRU GTX
Women: Mont Blanc GTX WNM

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Mountaineering Crampons

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

1

CAMP XLC 390

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School; Neptune Mountaineering

Equipment
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

BCA Neck Tube

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
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
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
Smart Phone App

There are a plethora of apps that assist in navigation. These apps use your phone's GPS functions and can work in the mountains offline.

1

Avanet; Gaia Maps; Topo Maps

Optional
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 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
Women: Rab Upslope

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Softshell/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 Stunt

Julbo

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 Zero G
Women: Rab Electron

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing
Synthetic/Merino Wool Socks

Wool/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

Point 6

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/hand Heaters

Help keep you warm on particularly cold days.

1 Optional
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
Trekking Poles

Adjustable and without powder basket.

1-2

CAMP Backcountry

Neptune Mountaineering

Colorado Mountain School

Optional
Watch w/ 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 and/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
Water Purification Tablets

Iodine or Chlorine-based treatments; To keep packs light in the summer during early morning approaches, your guide may suggest only carrying a liter or two of water, with the plan to refill during the day at a stream.

6 tabs/day

Aquamira, Potable Aqua

Neptune Mountaineering

Optional
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 Latok

Neptune Mountaineering

Clothing