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Introduction to Alpine Climbing
Our 3 Day Introduction to Alpine Climbing is designed for those who are new to alpine rock/snow climbing and would like to experience what the backcountry has to offer and gain valuable skills for future mountain adventures. This is the perfect course to satisfy your curiousity if you've been thinking about taking your front country climbing skills and seeing how you perform in a wilderness setting.
The San Juan Mountains provide us with the perfect venue to teach the basic principles of backcountry travel and alpine climbing. Earlier in the season, crampons and and ice axe are usually required, while later in the season we focus the instruction more specifically on alpine rock climbing and wilderness travel.
Seminar Highlights and Topics Covered Include:
- Standard belaying and rappelling methods in alpine environments.
- Alpine anchors, climbing gear, hauling systems, and self-rescue protocol.
- Route planning, map, compass, and GPS navigational tactics.
- General trip planning and packing including:
- Food options dependent upon your itinerary.
- Stoves and cook gear and their proper use.
- Essential gear to keep pack weights light.
- Campsite selection and Leave-No-Trace (LNT) principles.
- Pace and time management.
Day 1: We meet early at the Southwest Adventure Guides office. From there, we drive north to Andrews Lake (10,800 ft.). From Andrews Lake, we make a short hike to our base camp location below Snowdon Peak. Here begin our introduction to alpine rock climbing. We will cover knots, belaying, rappelling and rope management skills. Following our rock climbing instruction, we set up camp, cook dinner, and relax in the spectacular alpine setting.
Day 2: After an early breakfast, we will hike to the snow slopes below Snowdon peak. Here, we learn alpine snow and rock climbing techniques, self arrest skills and glissading. We continue with learning and practicing team roped travel, anchoring, and belaying.
Day 3: We will rise early on the third day for our ascent of the West Face of Snowdon Peak (13,077 ft.). We ascend either the Northwest Couloir, the East Ridge, or the West Buttress depending on conditions. This is a dramatic technical climb which will provide you with exhilarating views of the San Juan Mountains from a high and central location. From the summit, you can see the entire San Juan Range and the raging Animas River almost five thousand feet below. After descending, we will pack up camp, return to Andrews Lake, and drive back to Durango.
Please note that itineraries are general and may be changed due to current conditions and matters of practicality in order to make the courses safe, fun, and rewarding for everyone.
Trip Cost Includes: Guiding and instruction, breakfasts and dinners while on the mountaineering portion of the course and communal camping, cooking and climbing equipment.
Not Included: Personal lunch food. Hotel costs before, during, or after the courses. 3% land use surcharge, $3 Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue card, which is required, trip cancellation insurance, personal climbing or camping equipment, or guide gratuities.
Prerequisites: Participants need to be in good physical condition. Previous multi-day backpacking or camping experience is suggested though not required.
Reservation and Cancellation Policy: A 50% deposit is required for all reservations. The balance will be due on the 30 days prior to the start date of the trip. Cancellation must be made 60 days before first day of trip or course, otherwise your deposit will be forfeited. You can apply your trip deposit or fee toward a future trip or course that takes place within one year for a 15% fee. No credits or refunds for no shows or those leaving early. Please click on our Registration link to access the required registration forms.
2012 Schedule & Costs
May 20 - 22
June 3 - 5
June 24 - 26
July 15 - 17
August 5 - 7
*Private dates available upon request
||San Juan Mountains, Weminuche Wilderness
||$795 per person
||6 climbers 2 guides