Ouray Ice Fest Clinics

Join Mountain Trip on an ice climbing clinic at the Ouray Ice Fest. We have clinics for a variety of skill levels. Based on feedback from both climbers and guides at previous Ice Fests, this year we’ll once again offer longer, five-hour clinics. At the conclusion of each clinic, Mountain Trip’s AMGA trained or certified guides will leave ropes up and supervise additional climbing time for clinic participants, allowing you to get the most out of your day. Tuesday – Saturday, ropes will be left up until 4 p.m. or whenever everyone’s forearms are shot. (Sunday clinics are from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. to enable demo gear to be returned to sponsoring brands.)

Jan. 4 UPDATE: More Open Climbing Clinics Added!

Please note: Some clinics have prerequisites. If you don’t have previous ice experience, don’t register for the Steep Ice Clinic.

Intro to Ice Clinic - Register

Intro to Ice Clinic (with Joey Thompson) - Register

Intro to Ice Clinic (Sunday) - Register



Level Up on Ice! Clinic - Register







Steep Ice Clinic - Register

Steep Ice Clinic (Sunday) - Register

Beginning to Lead Clinic - Register

Beginning to Lead Clinic (Sunday) - Register





Open Climbing with Guides - Register

Open Climbing with Aaron Mulkey (Saturday) - Register

If you have questions, please contact the Mountain Trip office at [email protected] or (970) 369-1153.

Intro to Ice Movement and Techniques Clinic, $279

Ice climbing is much more technique dependent than rock climbing. Learn the skills properly in a full-day introduction to the sport of ice climbing. Warning: it’s addicting! By the end of the day you’ll be able to:

  • Climb a waterfall up to WI3 (don’t worry, we’ll also teach you what ice climbing grades mean!)
  • Have an understanding of some of the inherent risks of climbing ice and how to mitigate them
  • Properly belay in a top rope setting and efficiently communicate with your partner
  • Identify the ins and outs of ice climbing equipment, including proper fit and use
  • Tie a few basic knots to keep you connected to your partner—and the mountain!


  • None! This is an appropriate course for anyone who is interested in learning about ice climbing, or for climbers looking to refresh their skills for the coming season.


Level Up on Ice! Intermediate Skills and Techniques Clinic, $279

This clinic is for climbers who have climbed ice and are looking to progress on steeper terrain. Building on the foundational skills needed to move up moderate ice, we’ll teach more advanced movement techniques and positions with the goal of helping you confidently climb WI3+ to 4 smoothly and effortlessly by:

  • Mastering foot placements, tool swings, and everything that happens in between with your body
  • Having adequate sequences of movement execution
  • Learning positions of rest and tricks to avoid getting “pumped”
  • Finding proper positions of balance
  • Reading the ice and choosing the right path


  • Participants must have previous experience ice climbing, preferably in the last year. (If you climbed once five years ago, we highly encourage you to take our Intro to Ice Movement clinic—it will be more fun and you will progress faster.)


Steep Ice Clinic, $279

If you’re an avid climber but want to master your craft on vertical ice and pillars, this clinic is for you. Steep ice is highly technique dependent, and we’ll spend five hours instructing and helping you hone your skills on them steeps!

  • Movement on WI4-5
  • Climbing vertical ice and pillars
  • Clearing bulges
  • Positions of rest


  • Must be an avid climber with frequent ice climbing experience up to WI3+.


Beginning to Lead Clinic, $279

In this clinic we’ll approach graduation from being a competent ice climber on top rope to taking the first steps into learning how to lead an ice climb. In a mock lead scenario, we’ll follow the natural progression to safely and efficiently lead an ice climb. You’ll have a chance to learn from our guides:

  • Reading the ice and understanding its behavior
  • Leader’s movement on ice
  • Ice screws: correct placement, mechanics and limitations
  • Protection spacing
  • Ice screw anchor building and V, A & 0-threads
  • Top anchor belay
  • Lead belay and back ties


  • You must be an avid climber with proven experience on waterfall ice.
  • Some leading experience on rock (even at the rock gym) is a must.
  • Clear understanding of what “leading” means to prove readiness to move into it.
  • This clinic is not a “learn how to ice climb” clinic, although some instruction to improve your movement as to guarantee efficiency and safety as a leader will be provided.


Open Climbing with Guides, $129

We had the idea that maybe folks come to the Ouray Ice Fest to climb. Weird, right?! New for the 2024 Ouray Ice Fest, each day we will hang 4-6 ropes on routes in the Schoolroom. Our guides will coach, mentor, and generally be resources to support you with whatever aspect of ice climbing you’d like. The goal will be to create a supportive environment in which you can climb with highly skilled partners. We’ll check everyone off for belaying and we’ll ask you to belay when you’re not climbing, so our guides can help climbers on the ice.


  • Participants must have climbed ice previously and understand how to belay.

Please note: If you need Mountain Trip gear, plan to meet your instructor(s) at the Mountain Trip office in Ouray (801 Main Street) at 8:30 a.m. For those meeting us at our office and using Mountain Trip gear, we’ll provide a shuttle to and from the festival. If you plan to demo or bring your own gear, plan to meet your instructor(s) at the Mountain Trip tent near the lower bridge and the judges’ table toward the entrance of the Ouray Ice Park at 9:20 a.m. From there, we’ll walk over to the clinic.

The following is a list of guide-recommended gear for ice climbing with Mountain Trip. In general, you’ll want a selection of warm layers that work together. Clothing designed for a day of skiing is fine; however, dedicated ice climbing clothing is better. Whatever gear you choose, please make sure it fits well so you fully enjoy your experience in the mountains.

We provide all of the necessary technical climbing equipment: ice toolshelmetharnesscrampons and mountaineering boots. (Gaiters, lightweight gloves, parkas and backpacks are available upon request). All of our equipment is top-of-the-line gear. Climbers are also welcome to bring and use their own gear upon inspection by one of our guides.

In addition to what we provide and have available to rent, there is also a good selection of gear available in Telluride and Ouray. If you have any specific questions about what you might need, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Mountain Trip office.

Print Equipment


GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Ice BootsModern, technical ice climbing boots are lightweight and warm. Fit is paramount, so find the pair that best fits your feet. Your boots need to accept wire crampon bales, so they should have well-defined toe and heel welts.
GaitersIf your pants fit tightly around your boot you do not need gaiters. Many modern boots have built in gaiters. They do help keep out water, and can prevent crampons from catching your pant legs.

Torso Layers

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Base Layer Top(1 or 2 sets) of Wool or Capilene light weight base layers. Long sleeve or short sleeve base layers work well.
Light Fleece HoodyLight/mid weight fleece (or wool) top with a hood. You will wear this over your light weight base layer.
Puffy Light Insulated JacketSize this layer to fit over your light fleece hoody and wind shell, and it is often layered underneath your expedition parka. Synthetic is easier to deal with and not worry about getting compared to a down filled layer. A hood on this layer in mandatory! *** Guides Tip! Use TWO lightweight puffy layers in the early season or if you are worried about being cold. A Micro or Nano Puff jacket with a Ultra Light Down Jacket or Vest allows versatile layering options.
Hard Shell JacketThis jacket should be large enough to go over your light puffy jacket layer. You do not need the burliest/heaviest Gore-Tex jacket you can find, and we prefer the lightest weight versions.
Soft Shell Wind JacketMany high alpine peaks are cold and dry. We are huge fans of very lightweight softshell wind jackets for high, dry, cold peaks. Weighing just a few ounces, these can be carried in your pocket or in the lid of your pack for rapid deployment. This layer is used in addition to your more waterproof hard shell jacket.

Leg Layers

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Base Layer Bottoms(1 or 2 sets) of Wool or Capilene light weight base layers.
Light Fleece BottomsAs the air thins and the wind picks up, you'll want a bit more insulation on your legs. This should be a slightly warmer layer that can go over your base layer bottoms when it gets cold.
Soft Shell PantsSoft Shell pants are the workhorse in the mountains and you'll be wearing these day in and day out on most expeditions. On peaks like Denali and Aconcagua, you can wear them in lieu of your hard shell pants for much of the expedition.

Head and Hands

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Heavyweight GlovesWarm, insulated gloves are the day-to-day workhorses on cold peaks or for cold days of ice climbing. We prefer gloves with removable liners for ease of drying.
Warm HatBring one warm hat or two hats of different weights. Wool or fleece are fine, but your hat must provide ear protection from the cold.
Technical Winter Climbing GlovesThese are your for when you are actively climbing, they should be warm, water proof, and give you good dexterity for climbing. They should be a snug fit, and used in tandem with your heavy gloves between climbing and belaying.

Packs and Duffels

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Climbing PackSuitable climbing packs will be 30 - 45 liters in volume and have the capability of easily attaching crampons, and ice axes if used for a day of ice climbing or if needed for a peak ascent. For a day climbs, any pack in the 30 - 45 liter range will work, but we recommend that you consider the weight of the pack carefully. Overnight, alpine routes require larger (45L) packs that also let you strap your sleeping pad to the outside.

Climbing Gear

GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Climbing HelmetMake certain it fits over your warmest hat and under the hood of your shell. The super-lightweight foam helmets are great, but can get crushed in your duffel bags during travel, so protect your lid!
Climbing HarnessAn aspect of technical climbing is hanging in a harness. Having a padded, comfortable harness will make you much happier than will a thinly padded, alpine harness, and, should you find yourself at a semi hanging belay, your legs are less likely to fall asleep from lack of circulation.
Belay/Rappel DeviceA plaquette style belay/rappel device.
CramponsFor ice climbing, choose a dual- or mono-point crampon. Stainless steel crampons are light and do not rust.


GearDescriptionGuide's Pick
Two (2) One-Liter Water BottlesYou will need two, 1-liter plastic water bottles. Please bring wide-mouth bottles, such as those from Nalgene, as these are much easier to fill than bottles with small openings.
Lip BalmBring a tube of quality lip balm with sun protection (SPF).
SunscreenThe sun can be intense in Colorado, so please apply high SPF sunscreen prior to your trip and bring a small tube along to reapply during the day.

Inclusions and Exclusions for Ouray Ice Fest Clinics

Included in the Trip Fee:

• Guidance of our highly experienced Mountain Trip guides.

• Necessary technical equipment (ice boots, ice tools, crampons, helmet and harness).

• $40 per person contribution to the Ouray Ice Park.

Not Included in the Trip Fee:

• Travel to and from southwest Colorado.

• Personal clothing and equipment per our equipment list. (Please, just ask us if you need anything!)

• Accommodations in Colorado.

• Travel and/or rescue insurance. (The CORSAR card is an inexpensive way to reimburse local rescue groups for costs incurred during a rescue in Colorado.)

• Costs incurred due to evacuation or unplanned departure from the area due to illness or other problems.

• Costs incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of Mountain Trip.

• Costs as a result of force majeure.

Refunds and Cancellations

Mountain Trip recognizes how difficult and disappointing it can be for guests who must cancel trips. Guests must also recognize that, due to the nature of planning trips and contracting guides for specific dates, Mountain Trip also accrues significant expenses in organizing our excursions. We must therefore adhere to a strict refund policy for all guests.

We require 100% payment at the time of booking. There are no refunds for Ice Fest Clinics, unless you notify us at least 72 hours in advance AND we can re-book your cancelled spot. If you would like to purchase travel insurance to protect yourself in case of last-minute cancellations, you can do so via Travel Guard HERE.

All requests for refunds must be made in writing and received in our Colorado office. Email us at [email protected] at least 72 hours in advance of your clinic. We will do our best to fill your spot and if we do, we will issue you a full refund less a 15% administrative fee, or we will issue you full credit toward one of our other programs. No refunds will be provided for cancellations occurring within the last three days prior to the scheduled date of a clinic.

Mountain Trip reserves the right to cancel a trip prior to the departure date for any reason. In such an event, all monies collected by Mountain Trip from trip participants shall be promptly refunded. This is the extent of our financial liability.

Weather Cancellations

We, Mountain Trip and our guides, reserve the right to make all weather-related decisions in regards to the cancellation of trips.

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