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Ice Climbing - Level 1

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  • Show Trip Info

    Price
    $440
    Duration
    2 days
    Difficulty
    Level 1
    Type
    Ice Climbing
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Ice Climbing - Level 1

Ice Climbing - Level 1

Come into the fascinating world of climbing the frozen element! Our thorough ice curriculum will help you become a safe, efficient, and proficient ice climber on moderate to steep terrain.

COURSE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Venture into the enthralling world of ice climbing, learning the techniques to progress up moderate to steep ice terrain.
  • Learn all the skills necessary to independently and confidently top-rope ice climb.
  • Increase your toolkit to tackle more technically demanding mountain climbs.
  • Our gradual progression of teaching and implementing ice climbing techniques ensures that participants find ice climbing a natural and rewarding activity.
  • Instruction focuses on each climber's abilities and comes from our guides who are experienced ice climbers and passionate teachers.

Ice Climbing - Level 1 is the ideal course for both first time ice climbers and those who climb sporadically (less than once a year). The course takes place in Colorado's San Juan Mountains, considered by many to be the best venue in the world for learning and mastering ice climbing. Our two-day course teaches and refreshes participants on how to become proficient ice climbers in a short period of time. By the end of this course you will be familiar with setting up a top rope climbing system, be able to confidently belay a climbing partner, and be able to climb Grade 3-4 ice climbs. Our guides work with you over the two days with the goals of creating a confident proficient, and safe climber.

The course follows a natural progression where climbers begin on lower angled terrain and venture onto steeper ice as their comfort levels increase. With intense focus on proper technique - body positioning, footwork, tool placement, and sequences - you'll debunk the idea of ice climbing being a strenuous activity and enjoy a natural means of upward movement. Further instruction focuses on ice climbing equipment and its use, belaying and rappelling for ice climbers, and safety considerations while climbing in the vertical ice environment.

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, ice condition evaluation, 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
03/22/2016
Just getting away and getting out on the ice was great. Everyone was very nice and it was overall a very cool experience.
Tom M.

02/17/2015
just the overall experience
Jason S.

02/10/2015
The Ice Park is such an amazing public resource right in town. I really wish I lived closer to take greater advantage of it.
Michael D.

01/23/2015
Elias set a nice tone and everything fell into place. I appreciated and enjoyed the organization, expertise, and the positive attitude of all involved.
Chris C.

02/04/2014
The adventure of ice climbing. Really learned a lot in a couple of days!
Tamara B.

01/28/2014
Location and opportunity in Ouray to do so much.
Michael S.

01/26/2014
I really liked the experience of tackling something new for me with such an competent crew: Elias and Andreas.
Scott W.

  • Upcoming Climbs

      • January 6, 2017 Guide: Elias de Andres-Martos
      • Full
      • February 9, 2017 Guide: Elias de Andres-Martos
      • March 3, 2017 Guide: Elias de Andres-Martos
      • Full
  • Price
    $440
    Duration
    2 days
    Difficulty
    Level 1
    Type
    Ice Climbing
Table of Contents

Day 1

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. We begin with a discussion about safe climbing practices in an ice environment and Leave No Trace ethics.

We continue by learning and building top rope anchors, reviewing knots, and evaluating the safety hazards when top roping ice. Once our ropes are set, we transition into movement skills. We focus on each component of ice climbing technique: stance of balance, foot placement and foot work, center of gravity positioning, and swinging of the tools. We will also learn proper belaying techniques. Once we master how our body moves up the ice, the latter part of the day will be spent putting it all together and top-roping moderate grades of ice to develop technique. 

Our day climbing usually concludes at 3 p.m. Please make your own arrangements to stay in the area this evening.

 

Day 2

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

We begin the morning with more top-rope climbs, gradually gaining confidence and increasing the difficulty of the climbing as individuals become more proficient on the terrain. We break up the day by introducing ice anchors such as ice screws and V-threads, as well as learning and practicing safe rappelling. 

 

 

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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 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 all individuals in excellent physical condition. There are no technical climbing prerequisites to join this program.

  • 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 1 program 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 when they use code RMI2017 at checkout. This offer excludes sale items.

  • Use Code RMI2017
    To receive 10% off
    All New Equipment

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 1 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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