Mountaineering in the San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains | Colorado
Trip Highlights

Top reasons to mountaineer in the San Juan Mountains

  • Trip Highlight

    Hone your mountaineering skills on Colorado’s legendary fourteeners

  • Trip Highlight

    Experience unparalleled access to the San Juans from Telluride

  • Trip Highlight

    Challenge yourself and take on the entire Mount Wilson-El Diente Traverse in a single day

The San Juan Mountains are Colorado’s mountaineering Mecca, with enough world-class objectives to feed your climbing addiction for a long time. Housing 12 of Colorado’s 53 legendary fourteeners, seasoned mountaineers commonly head there for high-altitude practice before embarking on hardcore expeditions in the far reaches of the world. You’ll find a plethora of climbing delights here—whether you’re rappelling down the magnificent Dallas Peak, testing your limits on Lizard Head’s technical pitches, or taking in the views from El Diente’s exposed climbs, the thrills never stop in the San Juans. And if one peak isn’t enough, why not link two or more climbs and craft yourself a mountaineering tour of a lifetime?


December through March

Nearest city

Telluride, CO, is an hour away from the climbs


1-2 days

Skill level

Intermediate to advanced


Choose how you spend your days

Full-Day Mountaineering Tour in the San Juan Mountains


Take down some of the San Juans’ greatest 13,000+ft gems on thrilling mountaineering day tours! Ascend some of Colorado’s greatest objectives, such as the Dallas Peak (13,809 ft) and Lizard Head Peak (13,113 ft), accompanied by an experienced and knowledgeable local guide.

Full-Day Mount Wilson / El Diente Traverse Climb


Get ready for the longest and most challenging one-day ascent in the Telluride area. This iconic traverse lets you take down two classic summits in a single day. Join an experienced local guide for over a mile of ridge traversing above 13,500 feet, with some of the finest views you can find in Colorado!


Reviews (3)

Vhonchen about Mountain Trip on Tripadvisor

Thank you to Mountain Trip guide, Maddie Crowell, on 8/24/2021, I successfully summited my first Colorado 14er – Wilson Peak near Telluride. This was a challenging day on the San Juan rocks but I loved the climbing on the false summit to the summit. Thank you to Maddie and Mountain Trip. I look forward to my next guided adventure with Mountain Trip!

Laura P. about Mountain Trip on Tripadvisor

Chris was simply the best guide! His knowledge of Telluride’s great history was second only to our safety traversing. I would strongly encourage others to participate in the thrill-seeking adventure, amazing!

Natasha about Mountain Trip on Tripadvisor

We had a great time climbing with Mountain Trip!!! Our guide Carly was awesome!! So fun, definitely recommend it and would do it again!

Things to know

Things to know

Covid measures in the San Juan Mountains, 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, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado, please refer to Colorado’s COVID-19 travel guidelines.

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’s included?

What you get on this adventure:

    • An experienced, local mountaineering guide with extensive knowledge of the area
    • One or more days of mountaineering depending on your chosen itinerary
    • All technical climbing gear and protective equipment
    • Breakfasts and dinners for multi-day trips
    • Assistance arranging for post-trip activities in the area

What’s not included:

    • Transportation
    • Accommodations
    • Food on day trips
    • Lunch on multi-day trips
    • Travel and rescue insurance

How fit do I need to be?

These tours are quite challenging, and you need to be in good physical condition to attempt them. You will spend one or more days on your feet, hiking, scrambling, and rock climbing, encountering some mentally and physically draining technical routes. Mountaineering is a strenuous activity, and it’s up to you to make all the necessary preparations to ensure good health and physical conditioning. To ensure you have a fun day, your guide will help you choose routes that best suit your skill and fitness level.

What if I’ve never mountaineered before?

This tour requires prior mountaineering experience. Traversing the San Juan Mountains requires a decent level of familiarity with technical scrambling, abseiling, rock climbing, and other techniques. For intermediate to advanced mountaineers, Cuillin Ridge has loads of routes to spend the day on. 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 climbing the classic routes or best-hidden gems the area has to offer.

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:

    • Alpine climbing harness
    • Two locking carabiners and two non-locking carabiners
    • Helmet
    • Crampons
    • Ice ax

Here’s a list of the equipment we suggest you bring:

    • Climbing pack with crampon and ice ax attachments (around a 30-45L pack)
    • Buff or neck gaiter
    • Warm hat and sun hat
    • Light fleece hoody
    • Synthetic T-shirt or sun shirt
    • Rain jacket
    • Sun hoody — optional
    • Lightweight softshell trekking pants
    • Water bottle
    • Food you can eat on-the-go
    • Toiletries (sunscreen, lip balm, toilet paper, etc.)
    • Headlamp with extra batteries
    • Sunglasses
    • Camera — optional

Different objectives require different technical and safety equipment. Inquire with your guide about a more detailed equipment list before the tour.
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:

    • For the standard tour, the max guest-to-guide ratio is 3:1.
    • For the multi-day tours and the one-day Wilson/El Diente tour, the max guest-to-guide ratio is 2:1.
    • Costs per person decrease as the group grows for private tours, so it’s the perfect opportunity to climb with friends and family.

Mountaineering tours in the San Juan Mountains 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 mountaineers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

Getting there and meeting location

To get to Telluride, CO, in the San Juan Mountains, most people fly into Denver International Airport 6 hours away. From there, you can rent a car and drive to Telluride, take a direct regional flight to Telluride, or fly to Monrose and take a shuttle there.

Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop in Telluride or a predetermined location. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

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Wired for a better world

Outdoor adventuring makes us fall in love with our planet and people, it gets our brains rewired differently and forces us to rethink our life priorities.

For years, we’ve dreamt of building a company that can make an impact on things that we deeply care about. Here are some initiatives we are grateful to be contributing to.

1% of our sales goes to environmental non-profits
We provide work to thousands of local guides worldwide
We operate on carbon neutral and renewable energy
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