Mountaineering 101

Learn skills essential to traveling and surviving in the mountains, including  navigation, avalanche education, ice climbing and snow travel.


  • Available daily as private outing.


1 or more days


  • Leadville, CO (Chalk Creek)
  • Vail, CO (Meadow Mountain)


  • Per person, per day, per guide.
  • $720 (1p)
  • $360 (2)
  • $330 (3)
  • $295 (4)
  • $265 (5)
  • Larger groups are welcome! Call 970-949-9111 for pricing and details.


All Abilities

Experience Level

Beginner to Advanced

Imagine spending an adventure-filled opportunity to learn the ropes of mountaineering basics in your very own Beginner Mountaineering Course in the heart of the Colorado Rockies.

Develop your skills for venturing into the winter backcountry, or build on existing ones. This course is an intensive immersion in surviving, traveling and playing hard in one of the most beautiful wilderness areas on the planet. Ice Climbing, backcountry skiing and more!

Topics may include:

Mountaineering Equipment Basics – Belay devices and methods for belaying, rope management and care, avalanche safety gear, technical snow and ice climbing equipment, ski equipment, navigation tools, camping and cooking gear, packs and tents, as well as gear and belay terminology.

Avalanche Education and Beacon Use – Instruction in proper use of avalanche beacons for transmitting as well as searching, proper evacuation technique and a brief review of treating common winter backcountry injuries.

Strategic Travel – Learn efficient methods of travel for various snow and alpine ice conditions. Minimize exposure to avalanche danger through proactive route-finding. Navigation by map and compass, as well as GPS.

Technical Climbing – In this section, we rope up and explore belaying and arresting on steep snow slopes. Once roped travel and belay skills are developed we move on to technical ice climbing, learning top-roping and lead climbing techniques on vertical icefalls.

Self-Arrest – A slip on steep terrain and your self-arrest skills could make the difference between a lesson learned and a bad day. Simulated scenarios help you understand how to stop your fall on high angle snow and ice.

Shelter Construction (if multiple days) – Igloo, Quinzee, Tree Well Shelter, Cave and Snow Trench are discussed. We construct a shelter for our overnight stay. When the sun goes down, the talent to construct a quick and adequate shelter holds the promise of a night protected from the brunt of the elements.

Backcountry Ski Touring and Telemark Technique – Skinning uphill on free-heel skis and downhill “drop-knee” telemark technique are covered. Telemark skis can be replaced with an Alpine Touring setup (heels locked down to ski), or a Split-Board setup (for snowboarders).

Winter Survival – Bringing many of the basic mountaineering skills needed for backcountry sustenance together, we close with a few “what if’s”, as well as exploring mock scenarios.

At the end of this course, you’ll receive an AMS certificate of completion for Winter Mountaineering 101, and memories to last a lifetime (or until you come back for more!).

Advanced reservations are required. Some personal items provided by participant(s); see the gear list tab above.

Register at the Book It tab above, call (970) 949-9111 or use our contact page.

What to bring:

  • Beacon (rental available)
  • *No cotton – cotton does not wick moisture or insulate when wet.
  • Sleeping bag (calibrated to current nightime temps)
  • Closed cell sleeping pad
  • Inflatable sleeping pad
  • Fleece top
  • Insulating parka w/ hood
  • 40-60 liter backpack
  • Synthetic or wool long underwear bottom (thin)
  • Synthetic or wool long sleeve top (medium)
  • 2 pair Synthetic or wool socks
  • Lightweight shell jacket with hood, pants, and gloves
  • Fleece pants
  • Shell pants with side zips
  • Lightweight Glove Liners
  • Warm Hat and neck gaiter. balaclava or buff
  • Sunglasses
  • Skis or splitboard
  • Poles
  • Skins
  • Boots
  • Food and water for term of outing
  • Goggles
  • Small day pack
  • Heavy plastic garbage bags
  • Lighter
  • First aid kit
  • Toiletries
  • 2- 1 liter Water bottles
  • Headlamp and extra batteries
  • (overnight gear for multiple days only)

You may also consider:

  • Ice axe 50-65 cm shaft
  • 2 locking carabiners
  • Collapsible trekking poles
  • Gaiters
  • 2 pair liner socks
  • Multi tool
  • Double length sling
  • Belay/rappel device
  • Compass
  • Compression stuff sack (we provide)
  • Alpine climbing harness (we provide)
  • Helmet (we provide)
  • Crampon compatible boots (we provide)
  • Crampons (we provide)
  • Hand warmers
  • Hot liquid
  • Gaiters
  • Extra gloves
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle insulator
  • Camera
  • Headlamp and extra batteries

Participant Forms:

If you wish to complete your participant forms in advance, download and print out the pdf below. Complete both pages for each participant, and give to your guide at the beginning of your trip.

Participant Forms

Click the button below to view our terms, conditions and cancellation policy.


IMPORTANT: If booking multiple days, book each day separately. Return to this page by clicking on the “make another booking” button at the top of the “please review your order” screen after booking each day.