Overview:

Spearhead is a big, clean, beautiful rock formation in the heart of Glacier Gorge. It features some of the best climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park – the North Ridge is classic by any standard. We guide ascents of Spearhead in-a-day or with an overnight bivy.

Sample Itinerary:

In-A-Day

Hit the trailhead around 3am and hike into Glacier Gorge. Begin climbing at sunrise with the hopes of summitting and descending before any afternoon thunderstorms have moved in.

With Overnight

Day 1: Plan and prepare for an overnight and alpine climbing outing.  Hike into Glacier Gorge in RMNP (6 miles). Set up bivy camp below Spearhead, cook dinner and sleep under the stars.

Day 2: Alpine start to climb the North Ridge (5.6) of Spearhead. After the climb, we’ll grab our bivy sacs and head back to the trailhead.

Read a recent trip report from a North Ridge climb on Spearhead.

Meeting location:

Colorado Mountain School
341 Moraine Avenue
Estes Park, CO 80517

Lodging:

With a sixteen-bed lodge available, Colorado Mountain School provides students the opportunity to spend their entire stay in Estes Park without the hassle of commuting. Our lodge is conveniently located in downtown Estes Park and features a full kitchen, WiFi and hot showers. Reserve a bed now for just $40 per night (plus tax).

All Upcoming Dates and Locations:

    Prerequisites:

    Experience following a multi-pitch route, ability to hike 6 miles with a heavy pack, ability to climb at grade at altitude.

    Time:

    3am - 3pm

    Duration:

    1 Day or 2 Days

    Maximum Ratio:

    2:1

    Minimum Age:

    Please call to register participants under 18

    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
      • Rock shoes
    • Group camping gear
      • Bivy sack
      • Water filtration
      • Cook stove

    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    Bivy Sack

    Bivy sacks are required are required for all overnight bivys.

    1

    Rab Ascent Micdro Bivi

    Rab

    Colorado Mountain School

    Equipment
    Bowl, mug, fork, and spoon

    Personal utensils

    1

    Sea to Summit Delta Camp Set

    Neptune Mountaineering

    Equipment
    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
    Double-length Sewn Runner

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

    1-2

    CAMP 11mm Express Dyneema

    Neptune Mountaineering

    Equipment
    Ear Plugs

    Sometimes fellow campers snore. Ear plugs may help you get quality rest.

    1

    Foam ear plugs

    Optional
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    Sleeping Bag (10° to 35°)

    Down or synthetic sleeping bag is acceptible.

    1

    Rab Neutrino 400

    Rab Store

    Neptune Mountaineering

    Equipment
    Sleeping pad

    Insulated air mattresses or foam are ideal. Uninsulated air mattresses are not recommended.

    1

    Sea to Summit Comfort Light Insulated

    Neptune Mountaineering

    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
    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
    Women: Rab Upslope

    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
    Toiletries

    Bring enough for the trip. Toothpaste & brush, floss, deoderant, lotion, eye drops, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.

    1 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
    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 Ladakh GTX Jacket
    Women: RAB Women's Kangri GRX Jacket

    Neptune Mountaineering

    Clothing

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