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Ice Climbing - Level 2

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Ice Climbing - Level 2

Ice Climbing - Level 2

This course is designed to bring a climber's ice and alpine skills to the next level! Learn the skills for climbing frozen waterfalls in the backcountry and steep mountaineering routes.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • Become a proficient climber, transitioning from top-rope to multi-pitch ice climbs.
  • Continue to build on the foundational techniques introduced during our Ice Climbing - Level 1 course and prepare to climb steeper, more challenging technical ice.
  • Transform into a competent climber for big objectives utilizing multi-pitch techniques and transitions.
  • Get ready to tackle alpine objectives and enjoy the process of mastering the needed skills while having a blast climbing up frozen waterfalls.
  • Spend the days climbing classic ice routes above the small mountain town of Ouray, Colorado, a.k.a. "The Switzerland of America."

Ice Climbing
Ice Climbing
Ice Climbing
Ice Climbing
Ice Climbing

RMI's Ice Climbing - Level 2 course builds upon the skills learned in Ice Climbing - Level 1. We begin with a brief review of introductory techniques before focusing on the techniques used to efficiently climb steep ice (WI 4-5) as well as introducing new skills for dry and mixed terrain. 

With the backcountry as our objective, we switch gears towards helping you become a competent climber who can follow a guide on multi-pitch terrain and building the mindset and confidence required to undertake larger alpine climbs. We consider this course essential training if you are considering alpine climbs such as Alpamayo, Kyajo Ri, the West Rib of Denali, or Mt. Rainier's Liberty Ridge. Ice Climbing - Level 2 is also a good next step to help you develop as a well-rounded climber.

We offer small climber to guide ratios to ensure you receive the most personalized instruction possible. We have the flexibility to climb a backcountry route on Day 2 of the program should conditions and weather permit.

THE RMI DIFFERENCE

The Mountain Guides at RMI have a reputation as top guides in the United States. Years of guiding and climbing around the world have built a core of professional guides.

Our guides are celebrated teachers and trainers, known for their leadership as well as their character. They possess the compassion, enthusiasm and ability to empower others and inspire them forward. Such qualities may only be found in people at the top of their profession. Despite their vast experience, RMI Guides still remember their own first steps into the mountains, and enjoy helping other climbers reach new heights.

Our exceptional focus to detail, our unparalleled level of climber attention, and our genuine excitement for these adventures make our courses truly memorable.

SAFETY

RMI strives to create the safest mountain experience possible. Our experienced team of guides focuses on leading fun and successful course without compromising safety. Each course includes careful pre-trip planning, daily weather forecasts, avalanche forecasts, and diligent attention to detail. All RMI Guides are highly trained in remote medicine and rescue skills and carry comprehensive medical kits, rescue equipment, and radio communication equipment throughout the trip. Regardless of the objective or the destination, safety remains RMI’s top priority.

Our ice courses are taught in the Durango, Silverton, and Ouray areas in Colorado's San Juan Mountains. This is a program organized by Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. and led exclusively by San Juan Mountain Guides, LLC (SJMG). SJMG is based in Ouray, Colorado, and is an authorized permit holder in the San Juan National Forest, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests under priority use permit from the Forest Service, USDA.

As you prepare for your upcoming adventure please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or info@rmiguides.com.

Climber Reviews

Filter By
02/27/2015
That it provided an initial foundation for learning to tackle more challenging mountains.
David W.

01/28/2014
Dexter creek multi-pitch climb really put what we learned in the ice park into practice. Really took a lot away from the last day.
Michael S.

01/26/2014
Guides professionalism, enthusiasm and stamina to ice climb 4 days non stop.
Fatima W.

  • Upcoming Climbs

    • Please call our offices at 1-888-892-5462 to inquire about availability.
  • Price
    $525
    Duration
    2 days
    Difficulty
    Level 1
    Type
    Ice Climbing
Table of Contents

Day 1

ouray ice park

7:30 a.m. Meet at the San Juan Mountain Guides Headquarters (725 Main Street, Ouray, CO)

We introduce the team and guides for the program, discuss clothing and equipment, then distribute and fit gear. A short walk brings us to our training site in the Ouray Ice Park. Our day begins with warm up climbs and a review of skills before jumping onto steeper terrain and dry tooling techniques. 

Through repetition we build muscle memory, becoming more confident with the ice, as we learn how to read it, both for ease of progression and safety. We will also discuss and evaluate ice quality and learn how to test anchor strength.

Please make your own arrangements to stay in the area this evening.

Day 2

ouray ice park or backcountry

7:30 a.m. Meet at the San Juan Mountain Guides Headquarters (725 Main Street, Ouray, CO)

Weather, climbing conditions, and climbers' ability will be discussed in the morning before choosing our venue for the day. Today's goal is to put it all together; we will tackle routes as one would if facing a big alpine climb. Techniques for multi-pitch ice climbing are taught and implemented in smaller rope teams. Anchor "cleaning," transitions, multi-pitch rappelling, and additional knots and hitches and their implementation will add on to the rope management portion of the course. 

We will also cover avalanche awareness for climbers, efficient gear packing, proper gear, and nutrition and hydration for backcountry and alpine ice.

Many climbers choose to add on a day or two as a custom trip in order to tackle  some of the area's classic backcountry routes.

 

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Travel Consultant

RMI has partnered with Erin Rountree to provide comprehensive travel support. We have been working with Erin for many years. As an independent agent of the Travel Society, she has booked countless miles for adventure travelers across the globe and is extremely knowledgeable about the travel needs of our programs. Please call (208) 788-2870 or send email to etravel@cox.net.

Travel Insurance

We strongly encourage everyone to purchase travel insurance which can cover trip cancellation, interruption, delay, baggage loss or delay, medical expenses, medical evacuation, and more. Travel insurance offers the best possible protection in the event of a sudden, unexpected illness or injury prior to or while traveling. You can purchase travel insurance at any time prior to the trip departure. Should you need to cancel from a program, Trip Insurance will refund you for any non-refundable cancellations fees when cancelling for a covered reason.

There are several things to note when purchasing trip insurance.

  • Cancellation Insurance is included in the standard Trip Insurance policy if you are injured, or have a medical or family emergency prior to or while traveling. Should you need to cancel your program, Trip Insurance will refund you for any non-refundable cancellations fees when cancelling for a covered reason. Most travel insurance companies provide an option to include coverage that allows you to “Cancel for Any Reason”, but the initial policy must be purchased within 15 days of placing your deposit for the program.
  • In order to cover your trip with RMI Expeditions you may need to include options such as an “Adventure or Sports” upgrade. Not all travel insurance will cover mountaineering, climbing, skiing or trekking adventures. Some will not cover due to gear used (crampons, ice axe), others will not cover above a certain elevation and/or region of the world. Check your policy carefully to make sure your activity is covered.
  • Purchasing Travel insurance is also dependent on your state of residence. If one company doesn’t offer coverage for you because you live in Washington, another company might.

MH RossWe have partnered with MH Ross, a Trip Mate brand, to provide travel insurance for our climbers. MH Ross has created the Assure Adventure Plans to cover travelers participating in climbing, skiing, mountaineering and trekking programs.

MH Ross’s Adventure Plan and Adventure Plus Plan differ only in the coverage option which allows you to “Cancel for Any Reason”. In order to receive “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage you must purchase the Adventure Plan Plus within 15 days of paying your deposit or payment with RMI. We recommend that you carefully read the Plan Document that applies to your purchase.

Brochure: MH Ross Advantage Series - Assure Adventure Plans

Getting There

Meet your guides at the San Juan Mountain Guides Headquarters (725 Main Street, Ouray, CO).

Ouray is located in the Southwest portion of Colorado. The town is located 70 miles North of Durango, 50 miles from Telluride, 40 miles from Montrose and 345 miles from Denver. The closest place to fly into is Montrose or Grand Junction (100 miles to the north). Driving times from Denver, Salt Lake City, or Albuquerque are all around seven hours.

You can rent a vehicle for the drive from the airport, share a ride, or find a local shuttle service.

Ride Share: If you are interested in sharing a ride, please go to our Message Board, then to "Carpool and Ride from Airport" and post your information.

Ouray Area Accommodations

Box Canyon Lodge: www.boxcanyonouray.com

Comfort Inn: www.ouraycomfortinn.com

Chalet Inn: www.ouraychaletinn.com

Victorian Inn: www.victorianinnouray.com

Weather and Route Conditions

Ouray has a very dry climate with mild winters and 300+ days of sunshine per year. Average winter temperatures are usually slightly above freezing. For updated Ouray weather forecasts, click here. For Ice Park conditions, click here. For the Ouray webcam, click here.

Tipping

Our guides work hard to ensure your well being and success on the mountain. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. Amounts are at your discretion and should be based on your level of enjoyment. Tips for excellent service normally average 10 - 15% of the cost of the program.

Facts

Ouray is a small Victorian town known for its natural hot springs, gorgeous alpine location, and ice. Ouray is located only 47 miles from Telluride, which offers world class lift-serviced skiing. Ouray also offers cross-country skiing, great restaurants, and shopping.

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Qualifications

This trip is open to climbers in excellent physical condition with previous ice climbing experience. Our Ice Climbing - Level 2 course is designed to be taken in the same climbing season as our Ice Climbing - Level 1 course. A climber must have taken Ice Climbing - Level 1, or equivalent, in the same calendar year. If you have been ice climbing regularly after taking a formal introductory course, then this course will suit you well.

Qualifying Programs

Recommended experiences prior to Ice Climbing - Level 2 include:

  • Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life
    And Then Go
    Climb A Mountain

    Create A Fitness And Training Program

    Go To Fitness Resources

Physical Fitness Training

Mountaineering requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, climbing mountains qualifies as an extremely challenging endeavor.

  • Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
  • Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina and skills to meet the physical and technical demands of the climb.
  • Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing.

For the Ice Climbing - Level 2 course, you are preparing for:

  • Ice Climbing techniques requiring core strength and flexibility
  • Forearm, shoulder, and calf strength
  • Balance

Nothing ensures a personally successful adventure like your level of fitness and training. Bottom line: Plan on being in the best shape of your life and ready for a very challenging adventure!

Please refer to our Resources for Mountaineering Fitness and Training for detailed fitness and training information.

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What You’ll Need

The following is a list of required equipment. We may encounter a variety of weather conditions throughout our climb, including rain, wind, snow, sleet and extreme heat. Skimping on equipment can jeopardize your safety and success, so we want you to think carefully about any changes or substitutions you are considering. If you have questions regarding the equipment needed for your upcoming climb, give us a call and speak directly to one of our experienced guides.

Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase from our affiliate Whittaker Mountaineering. RMI climbers receive a 10% discount on new clothing and equipment items ordered from Whittaker Mountaineering. This offer excludes sale items.

  • RMI Climbers Get 10% Off
    All New Equipment At
    Whittaker Mountaineering

Shop Your Equipment List

Equipment List

    • RMI provides, in affiliation with San Juan Mountain Guides (SJMG), the following personal equipment: harness, helmet, ice tools, crampons, ice boots, and belay/rappel device.  If you already own these items please feel free to bring them with you to the course.

    • SUNGLASSES

      On sunny days, you will need protective glasses. Regular sunglasses will suffice on this program. Glacier glasses are not required.

    • Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.

    • HEAVY WEIGHT GLOVE

      Wind/water resistant, insulated gloves. These also serve as emergency back-ups if you drop or lose a glove.

    • We recommend a minimum of five upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, soft-shell, down and synthetic options.

    • We recommend a system of four layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.

    • ICE CLIMBING BOOTS

      RMI provides, in affiliation with San Juan Mountain Guides (SJMG), ice climbing boots.  Crampon compatible, insulated leather boots are the footwear of choice for ice climbing. Plastic boots can work as well.  If you already own this item please feel free to bring them with you to the course.

    • SUNSCREEN

      We recommend small tubes of SPF 15 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.

    • MEALS

      See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.

    • 2 WATER BOTTLES

      Hard-sided, screw-top, one-liter water bottles with wide mouths are required. Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content and BPA-Free are recommended.

    • CAMERA
    • THERMOS

      One-liter capacity is recommended for breaks.

    • Purchase travel insurance.

    • Purchase airplane tickets.

    • Arrange lodging in Ouray.

    • Arrange transportation to Ouray.

    • Be in the Best Shape of Your Life!


Provided Equipment

RMI provides, in affiliation with San Juan Mountain Guides (SJMG), the following personal equipment: harness, helmet, ice tools, crampons, ice climbing boots, and belay/rappel device. If you already own these items please feel free to bring them with you to the course.

Every guide on your program will carry rescue equipment and a first aid kit. Guides have cell phones for emergency contact.

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MEALS

On the Ice Climbing - Level 2 program you will need 2 mountain lunches.

MOUNTAIN LUNCHES

Mountain lunches are eaten during short breaks throughout the day. We continually snack to keep our energy levels up while we climb - lunch begins just after breakfast and ends just before dinner! Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.

The importance of having foods that are genuinely enjoyed cannot be overstated. Eating properly is the key to maintaining strength while in the mountains. In order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude we aim to have a variety of foods that stimulate the whole palate, from sweet to sour to salty.

Recommended mountain lunch items: dry salami, smoked salmon, jerky (turkey, beef, fish), small cans of tuna fish, individually wrapped cheeses such as Laughing Cow or Baby Bell, crackers, bagels, candy bars, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, toffees, Life Savers), gummy bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), cookies, dried fruit, nuts, energy bars, GORP mixes, and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid).

BREAKFAST AND DINNER

Breakfast and dinner are available in town at a variety of restaurants.

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Payments

Payment in full is due at time of reservation. Payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, e-check, or check.

Cancellation

Once we receive written notification that you are canceling an individual participant or your entire reservation the following fees will apply:

  • A fee of $50 per person will be charged for cancellations made more than 60 days before departure.
  • There will be no refunds for cancellations made less than 60 days before your program.

Unfortunately, due to the time-sensitive nature of our business, and the difficulty in re-booking a trip close to departure, we cannot make exceptions to this policy.

Cancellation Insurance: We strongly suggest that everyone purchase travel insurance. Please see our Travel Page for details.

Change of Date

Date changes are subject to availability and apply only to the current climbing season. Date changes may be requested at anytime up to 30 days prior to your departure date for a $25 fee per person. There are no date changes allowed less than 30 days before departure.

Risk Management

Safety is RMI's number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering such as avalanches, ice fall, rock fall, inclement weather, and high winds, but they cannot eliminate them. RMI guides draw from their wealth of experience and training to make sound decisions that improve your chance of reaching the summit without compromising the necessary margin of safety.

Please clearly understand that mountaineering is inherently a hazardous sport. You are choosing to engage in an activity in which participants have been injured and killed. While those accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge the risk and hazards of mountaineering, and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in this activity. 

Climber Responsibilities

Mountaineering is both an individual challenge and a team endeavor. Some of the responsibility for the team is carried by the individual climbers. For this reason, we ask that each participant:

  • is physically and mentally fit, properly attired and equipped, and continues to self assess throughout the program to ensure as safe a climb as possible. If a climber's own physical fitness limits his or her ability to safely continue upward, that can have a negative impact on the summit experience or opportunity of other climb participants.
  • honestly and accurately describe themselves, in terms of fitness, health and skills, and their equipment to their guides, and that they adhere to the advice of their professional mountain guide.

Age-Appropriate Guidelines & Restrictions

RMI adheres to the following age-appropriate guidelines and restrictions on all climbing programs, domestic and international.

  • Ages 15 & under: No participants age 15 & under
  • Ages 16 & 17: Accompanied by parent or legal guardian
  • Ages 18 & above: No restrictions 

An individual's birthday must precede the departure date of the program. For example: a 15 year old who turns 16 on July 1 may participate on a program beginning July 2.

Accompaniment by parent or legal guardian is required for the program or climb.

Under-aged participants on Private Climb programs are assessed on an individual basis.

General Policies

Any Participant under the age of 18 must be accompanied on the trip by a parent or legal guardian and both the Participant and parent or legal guardian must sign all forms.

RMI's program plans and itineraries are subject to change or adjustment based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, terrain, and many other factors. RMI has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including discretion to change program schedule or itinerary, and change guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program.

We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather or route conditions. In such a case, a full refund is given; however, RMI cannot be responsible for any additional expenses incurred in preparing for the program (i.e., airline tickets, equipment purchase or rental, hotel reservations).

If the Participant decides to leave a trip at any time after the start of the trip and prior to its conclusion, he or she will not be entitled to a refund.

RMI reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a trip or to send the Participant to a lower altitude at any time if RMI determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for or capable of participating in the program.

The Participant understands and agrees that RMI assumes no responsibility or liability in connection with any travel and hospitality service provided to the Participant by others in connection with the trip, including but not limited to the services provided by airlines, hotels, and motor vehicle operators, and that RMI is not responsible for any act, error, omission, or any injury, loss, accident, delay, irregularity, or danger by a supplier of travel or hospitality services to the Participant in connection with the RMI program.

RMI recommends and strongly advises that the Participant have or purchase personal life, medical, accident, travel, baggage, trip cancellation, and other insurance that may pertain to participation in the program. The Participant understands that RMI provides no such insurance coverage in connection with the trip.

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