Top reasons to go alpine climbing in RMNP
Experience Colorado’s premier alpine rock climbing destination
Take on world-class objectives appropriate for climbers of all skill levels
Enjoy the landscapes of one of America’s most visited national parks without the crowds
Winter may be the best time to climb Rocky Mountain National Park. When the temperatures drop, the crowds that usually gather around the Rockies’ natural landmarks disappear, giving way to a more solemn and serene backcountry experience. It’s true, the hikes to the trailheads are lengthy, the wintertime weather can be very fickle, and the high altitudes can make even breathing a challenge. However, overcoming these challenges leads to some of the most spectacular climbing experiences in the US. Routes such as the North Ridge of Spearhead and Loch Vale Gorge serve as perfect introductions to alpine and ice climbing. The high-altitude Casual Route and the steep and crack-covered Direct South Ridge provide more of a challenge, while routes such as the compelling D7 will push even the most seasoned climbers to their very limits. And in your off-time, you get to bask in the stunning views of one of North America’s most spectacular national parks! Learn why Rocky Mountain National Park is a must-visit climbing destination from Rob Coppolio, certified AMGA/IFMGA rock, alpine, and ski guide.
November through January
Denver, CO, is 1,5 hours away from Rocky Mountain National Park
Beginner to advanced
Choose how you spend your day
Beginner Alpine Climbing in RMNP With a Guide
If you’re looking to get into climbing in alpine environments, this winter rock climbing tour in Rocky Mountain National Park is the perfect ice breaker! From beginner-friendly ice or snow climbs to more challenging intermediate ascents, you’re sure to find a route you love. Discover exciting mixed climbs in the Park or head out to Loch Cale Gorge and try out ice climbing. Spend 6-10 hours traversing the beautiful Rocky Mountains with an experienced local guide keeping you safe.
Intermediate Alpine Climbing in RMNP With a Guide
Put your mountain boots on and get ready to experience some longer winter climbs in the Rocky Mountains! This 8-10 hours long intermediate winter climb starts really early, ensuring that you have time to tackle the hike, beat the weather, and conquer the peaks. Classic climbs such as West Gulley, All Mixed Up, and Dreamweaver await!
Advanced Alpine Climbing in RMNP With a Guide
Tackle some of Rocky Mountain National Park’s most challenging and rewarding winter alpine climbs! This breathtaking rock climbing day tour starts with an atmospheric midnight hike by headlamp, before quickly transitioning into a compelling and engaging climb. Conquer hardcore objectives such as Notch Couloir and Long’s Peak safely and confidently with the help of a seasoned climbing guide.
Note: There is an option for breaking these climbs into multiple days depending on the objective.
Meet your guide
Denver Mountain Guiding
AMGA Certified Guides
Our family of six novice climbers had such an amazing experience with Denver Mountain Guiding!! None of us had ever climbed outdoors before this; Ryan and Nate were the perfect guides! Their knowledge of climbing, attention to safety and details, high-quality gear, along with great instructions and patience was top-notch. We scheduled our 4-hour climb on short notice and had no problems getting the perfect time slot and location. The views were breathtaking! It was so cool to be right there with other local climbers. We really felt like this was such an authentic experience. Would highly recommend it to everyone and can’t wait to do it again! We could not have been happier! Thank you for the memories!!
Jason is very informative and friendly. My friends and I really enjoyed our Rocky Mtn NP ice climbing trip.
Things to know
Covid measures in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, please refer to Colorado’s COVID-19 travel updates and Rocky Mountain National Park’s Current Conditions.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get on this adventure:
- An experienced, local mountain guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- 6-12+ hours of climbing depending on your chosen itinerary
- All technical climbing gear
What’s not included:
- Food and drinks
How fit do I need to be?
All alpine climbs are physically demanding. Mountain days are long, low-intensity exercise.
A course that is too hard will be less enjoyable for you. Work on your fitness by walking up hills or in the gym—strength exercises (squats, step-ups, stair-climbing with a rucksack) are useful for improving your endurance.
Ice climbing needs more upper body strength, and calves can take a beating when front-pointing. It’s useful if you’ve done some ice and/or rock climbing before, but it’s not a prerequisite.
Intermediate and advanced alpine and ice climbs require a good level of fitness, as well as a specific skill set, such as usage of equipment, efficient travel strategies in glaciated terrain, basic snow/ice movement skills, and basic crevasse rescue techniques. The alpine terrain can be challenging and the weather unpredictable. Also, the altitude can really catch people off guard, so for a 72-hour period before your trip begins, ensure that you are consuming sufficient amounts of sodium and fluids. You should arrive with a healthy desire for enduring mountain conditions. Let your guide plan the day so you can focus on developing your skills while climbing the classic routes or best-hidden gems the area has to offer.
What if I’ve never climbed before?
No prior experience is necessary. Whether you’ve never donned a harness or you’re a seasoned climber, a guide will help you meet your individual objectives. Above all, your instructor’s number one priority is your safety. As long as you listen to the given instructions, you’ll succeed in completing your climb. Still, keep in mind—all alpine climbs are physically demanding, so make sure you’re prepared for it!
Mountain days are long, low-intensity exercise, which is hard to replicate in short gym sessions, so you should work on your endurance with strength exercises (squats, step-ups, stair-climbing with a rucksack). With a guide by your side, you’ll learn something new, stay safe, and most importantly, have fun!
What about required equipment?
All technical climbing equipment will be provided by your guiding service. However, if you have your own gear, feel free to bring it. You’ll need:
- Harness with a locking carabiner, belay device
- Climbing hardware (quickdraws, cam devices, stoppers, etc.)
- Ice axe — depending on the chosen itinerary
- Climbing hardware (quickdraws, cam devices, stoppers, etc.)
For personal items, we recommend bringing:
- Fleece or wool hat
- Balaclava and a buff
- Neck gaiter
- Hardshell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex or equivalent)
- Expedition-weight bottoms
- Lightweight wind shell
- Down or synthetic jacket with hood
- Long-sleeved base layer
- Gloves — lightweight synthetic, windstopper gloves, big mountain gloves and mittens
- Long base layer pants
- Lightweight trekking pants
- Expedition-weight bottoms
- Hardshell pants
- Softshell pants (wind-proof or wind-resistant)
- Quick-dry shorts
- Leg gaiters
- Liner socks, hiker socks and warm socks
- Mountaineering boots that work with crampons
- Hiking shoes
- An internal frame backpacks (about 35-45L)
- Chemical hand and toe warmers
- Glacier glasses and goggles — optional, but recommended
- Water bottle or hydration pack
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- Pocket knife
- Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, blister kit, toilet paper, pee bottle, etc.)
- Camera — optional
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- The max guest-to-guide size for these climbs is 2:1.
- Costs per person decrease as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to climb with friends and family.
Climbing days in Rocky Mountain National Park can be arranged for bigger groups. Contact us prior to booking.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Minors as young as 14 may be permitted to climb on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
If your group has climbers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to the Rocky Mountain National Park, most people fly into Denver International Airport 1,5 hours away. From there, you can rent a car and drive northwest for 80 miles or take the Estes Park Shuttle, which runs frequent routes from the airport to the town of Estes Park, the headquarters of the Rocky Mountain National Park.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, which will usually be near the trailhead. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.