Top three reasons to ice climb in Ouray and Silverton
Discover and climb dazzling peaks and majestic frozen structures
Get lost in San Juan’s rugged and picturesque backcountry
Whether you’re a rookie climber or a seasoned vet, you won’t get overlooked
Tucked away in the rugged San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado lie the picturesque mining towns of Ouray and Silverton. With a plethora of ice climbing routes, these towns will accommodate just about anyone looking for an adrenaline-fueled adventure on quality frozen structures. Ouray is sometimes called “the Switzerland of America” thanks to its breathtaking alpine surroundings. With routes for all abilities, varying from single pitch roadside crags to jaw-dropping 1000 ft WI4 routes and challenging mixed climbing test-pieces, Ouray is the perfect ice climbing hub. Hone your technique in the Ice Park and then apply your skills on a backcountry route that best meets your goals and ability. Surrounded by the sky-scraping peaks, most of them thirteeners, Silverton is regarded as one of the chief gateways into Colorado’s scenic backcountry. Join an expert guide and come see why these scenic backcountry locations attract the most fervent ice climbers year after year.
December through March
Colorado Springs, CO, is 5-6 hours away
Beginner to advanced
Book this adventure
A Customized Day of Ice Climbing With a Guide
Head to Colorado’s backcountry and have a blast on an exhilarating ice climbing adventure in the quaint mining towns of Ouray and Silverton. Explore the frozen structures and various routes ranging from single-pitch roadside crags to breathtaking 1000 ft mixed climbing routes, and you’re guaranteed to find something just right for you. Let your professional guide navigate you through various backcountry ice climbing crags and tailor an unforgettable adventure specific to your goals!
Meet your guide
Splitter Alpine Adventures
I’ve climbed with Micah two seasons and can strongly recommend him without qualification. I’ve described him to fellow climbers as a “technician”, well versed in all aspects of climbing, someone that not only gets you up cool places, but who passes on valuable information that allows you to get up those cool places safely on your own.
He has taken my ice climbing to the next level where I now feel comfortable leading. Nevertheless, I still plan to climb with Micah in future seasons to tune up my climbing and get to remote areas I wouldn’t necessarily go to without the strong local avalanche knowledge Micah possesses. He cares about you as a climber, not just as a client.
I was in Ouray and decided to book a last minute ice climbing lesson. Having no climbing experience I was a little nervous and had unending questions. Micah was very patient and guided me through everything so I was able to build tons of confidence. His passion for climbing is contagious and I’d love to join on one of his adventures! I would definitely recommend him!
Micah taught me how to ice climb last year. I have used his guide service twice since then. He has always picked great climbs for me that push my limit but I’m able to climb. Micah is incredibly patient and spends time teaching as much as you want to learn. I highly recommend using Micah for your next climbing adventure.
Things to know
Covid measures in Ouray and Silverton, CO
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 traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Ouray and Silverton, CO, please refer to Colorado’s COVID-19 Travel Guidelines and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website.
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 ice climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- A full day of ice climbing
- Group equipment (climbing rope, rock/snow/ice protection, anchor material, stove and fuel)
What’s not included:
- Personal clothing and climbing gear
- Food and snacks
How fit do I need to be?
If you can climb a ladder, you’re good to go. Being in good shape is always a plus but far from necessary. Ice climbing is all about using good movement technique rather than muscling up ice structures using brute strength. You’ll also need to be able to go on a 30-45 minute approach hike. To ensure you have a fun day, your guide will choose routes that best suit your skill and fitness level.
What if I’ve never climbed before?
Ouray and Silverton have plenty of options for beginner ice climbers. Whether you’ve never ice climbed before or are transitioning from the rocks to the ice, your guide will customize the day to suit your skill level and objectives. With a guide by your side, you’ll learn something new, stay safe on the ice, and most importantly, have fun!
For intermediate to advanced ice climbers, Ouray and Silverton have loads of routes to spend the day on, including jaw-dropping 1000 ft WI4 routes and challenging mixed climbing test-pieces. Your guide will discuss your objectives and customize the day to your goals. Let your guide plan the day so you can focus on developing your skills while ice climbing the classic routes or best hidden gems the area has to offer.
What about required equipment?
All group equipment will be provided by your guiding service and the rest can be rented. If you have your own gear, feel free to bring it. You’ll need:
- Climbing helmet (UIAA certified)
- Vertical frontpoint crampons and crampon pouch
- Technical ice tools
- Tubular belay device with round bar stock locking carabiner
- Sewn nylon sling (48 in/120 cm)
- Two or three locking carabiners and one or two non-locking carabiners
- Two ice clippers
- V-thread tool
- Prusik loop — optional
- Accessory cord (20 feet 6 mm) — optional
- Ice tool tether (umbilical style) — optional
- Ice screw (22 cm) — optional
Here’s a list of the equipment we suggest you bring:
- Sun hat and warm hat thin enough to fit under the helmet
- Insulated parka
- Neck gaiter
- Synthetic underwear
- Sports bra for women
- Heavyweight socks
- Mixed and softshell climbing gloves
- Midweight top base layer
- Heavyweight bottom base layer
- Midweight fleece jacket
- Midweight vest — optional
- Active insulation jacket
- Softshell jacket and pants
- Crampon-compatible mountaineering boots
- Snowshoes or approach skis — optional
- Sunscreen and lip balm
- Small first aid kit
- Water bottle and 2L of water
- High-energy food and snacks you can eat on-the-go
- Trekking pole with snow basket
- Knife — optional
- Hand warmers — optional
- Headlamp with fully charged batteries
- Climbing backpack (35 liters with ice tool attachments) — can be rented
Your guide will provide a more detailed equipment list before your trip. If rental gear is needed, please inform your guide of your specific needs in advance of the trip.
Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- The max. Guest-to-guide ratio for this adventure is usually 3:1.
- Costs per person decrease as the group grows for this adventure, so it’s the perfect opportunity to climb with friends and family.
Ice climbing days in Ouray and Silverton 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 younger than 18 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 ice climbers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Ouray and Silverton, most people fly into Denver International Airport about 6 hours away from Ouray and Silverton. From there, you can rent a car and drive to Ouray and Silverton. Alternatively, you can take a local flight to Montrose, CO, and rent a car or take a shuttle to Ouray, where most routes begin.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet. Most routes begin by meeting in Ouray at first light and involve a 30-45 minute approach hike—an early start ensures a more relaxed and secluded day ahead of other parties and gives flexibility on longer routes. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.