The five-day Mountaineering Development Series course sets you up perfectly for climbing bigger glaciated peaks. Individuals will spend the first two days learning extremely vital skills such as the different types of winter anchors and proper crevasse rescue for yourself as well as your team. The third day will focus on climbing, multi-pitch systems and transitions. Day four and five will involve learning proper camp craft on an overnight in the backcountry, and climbing a classic mountaineering route in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Day 1: Winter Anchors – Learn to build different types of winter anchors – from pickets in the snow, to cams in rock and screws in ice, this course teaches you to construct effective anchoring systems.
Day 2: Crevasse Rescue – This is a mandatory skill to have if you spend any time in glaciated terrain. Learn how to pull yourself and your team out of a crevasse in case of an accident.
Day 3: Climbing day & multi-pitch systems – We’ve spent two days out in the field working on skills, now it is time to get some climbing under our belt. We’ll climb a route conducive to the conditions and work on multi-pitch systems/transitions.
Day 4: Hike in, camp craft, route plan, and overnight in the backcountry – it’s time to head out for an overnight! Learn the skills to spend a comfortable night in the backcountry. Also plan and prep for tomorrow’s big day.
Day 5: Climb a classic route in Rocky Mountain National Park. After climbing to the summit, the group will head back to basecamp, pack up and hike out to the trailhead for a final debrief.
Colorado Mountain School
341 Moraine Avenue
Estes Park, CO 80517
Rocky Mountain National Park provides excellent terrain for learning mountaineering skills at any time of the year. Depending on your own personal goals, climbing conditions may affect which time of year you decide to enroll.
May through early July: The best time for snow climbing in Colorado. The mountaineering program this time of year is prime for alpine snow and couloir climbing.
July through November: Much of the seasonal snow has melted by this time of year and all that remains are the perennial snowfields. Largely, the mountaineering courses during this time are centered on rock skills with 3rd/4th class terrain management being the focus. Snow can still be found at times, but can sometimes be difficult to reach and is never guaranteed.
December through February: Winter in the Colorado Front Range. The focus of the mountaineering program during this time is winter travel skills. Often times snow conditions are 1) Too unconsolidated to provide any option for true snow climbing and 2) Too dangerous from an avalanche hazard perspective to venture onto steep snow slopes. The course is centered on mixed rock, snow and ice objectives in a wintry environment.
March and April: March and April can be hit or miss for prime snow conditions. Often times the Front Range receives large spring storms that can make snow climbing unreasonable or we can benefit from warmer temperatures creating good snow climbing conditions on particular aspects. This time of year, the focus of the program could be on snow climbing or rock-centric depending on conditions, which are often quite variable.
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 from just $39.99 per night (plus tax).
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.