Ice Climbing

In the Pikes Peak Region

Ice climbing offers thrilling adventures for outdoor enthusiasts. With its majestic frozen waterfalls, ice formations, and challenging routes, it provides a unique and exhilarating experience for climbers of various skill levels.

Ice climbing in the Pikes Peak Region involves scaling frozen vertical or near-vertical ice formations using specialized gear, including ice axes, crampons, and ropes. The region offers a variety of ice climbing routes, ranging from beginner-friendly options to more advanced and technical climbs, catering to climbers with different levels of experience and abilities.

The ice climbing season in the Pikes Peak Region typically runs from late fall to early spring, when the freezing temperatures create ideal conditions for ice formation.

Whether you’re a seasoned ice climber or a beginner looking to try out this exciting sport, the Pikes Peak Region provides ample opportunities to test your skills, push your limits, and experience the beauty of ice-covered landscapes. However, it’s crucial to have proper training, equipment, and knowledge of ice climbing techniques, as it is an inherently challenging and potentially hazardous activity.

Getting Started

Getting started with ice climbing requires a combination of proper training, equipment, and guidance. It is highly recommended to take an ice climbing course or seek instruction from experienced climbers to learn the necessary skills and techniques for safe and efficient climbing on ice. Building a strong foundation in rock climbing can also be beneficial as it provides a solid base of skills that can be applied to ice climbing. Additionally, investing in appropriate gear, such as ice axes, crampons, helmets, harnesses, ropes, and ice screws, is essential. As a beginner, it’s crucial to start with easier routes and gradually progress to more challenging climbs as your skills and confidence improve. Always prioritize safety, stay aware of weather conditions and ice quality, and climb with a partner or in a group for added support and security.

Pro Tip

Ice conditions can vary greatly from day to day, so staying informed and flexible with your plans will help ensure a more enjoyable and safer experience. Additionally, consider partnering with an experienced ice climber or guide who is familiar with the area and can provide valuable insights and guidance throughout your journey.

Be Prepared

To be prepared for ice climbing in the Pikes Peak Region, ensure you have received proper training, possess the necessary gear and equipment, and thoroughly research and understand the current ice conditions and weather forecasts.

Be sure to pack
  • Ice Climbing Gear
  • Layered Clothing
  • Climbing Boots
  • Backpack
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food and Water

Outdoor Ethics for Ice Climbing

The Leave No Trace Seven Principles are reprinted with the permission of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. For more information, visit www.LNT.org.

  • Plan Ahead And Prepare
    • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area where you plan to climb.
    • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards and emergencies.
    • Schedule your climbing to avoid times of high use.
    • If you are climbing with a group, communicate your expectations.
    • Bring the appropriate equipment for the route(s) you intend to climb.
    • Acquire the necessary technical skills including first aid knowledge.
    • Check local regulations and ethics regarding the installations and use of fixed protection.

     

  • Travel and Camp on Safe, Durable Surfaces
    • Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock gravel, dry grasses or snow.
    • Always use durable roads and trails to access climbing routes.
    • When unpacking gear at crags, choose a durable location for your staging and belay areas.
    • Use existing anchors when available.
    • Protect water sources by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
    • Good camp sites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
  • Dispose of Waste Properly
    • Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your camping and climbing areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, tape and litter.
    • Carry out abandoned or forgotten gear and webbing.
    • Minimize the use of chalk when possible. Keep chalk bags closed when not in use to minimize spills.
    • Consider packing out solid human waste using an approved method.
    • If allowed, deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
    • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • Leave What You Find
    • Preserve the past: observe, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
    • Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects as you find them.
    • Avoid developing new routes near archaeological or historical sites, or critical wildlife habitat.
    • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
    • Do not build structures, furniture or dig trenches.

     

  • Minimize Campfire Impacts
    • Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Consider using a lightweight stove for cooking and bring a headlamp for light.
    • Where fire are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
    • Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
    • Don’t bring firewood with you. It may be contaminated with tree killing insects or diseases. Instead, buy local wood near your destination or gather it upon your arrival.
    • Burn all wood to coals and ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
  • Respect Wildlife
    • Learn about seasonal route closures and be prepared to back off a route if you disturb wildlife.
    • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach wildlife.
    • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
    • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
    • If bringing dogs to crags, ensure they’re under control or consider leaving them at home.
    • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times. Mating, nesting, raising young or winter.
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors
    • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
    • Larger groups should try not to monopolize popular climbing routes, especially during times of high use.
    • Maintain a cooperative spirit by being courteous to other users on the trails and at crags.
    • Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises unless necessary for communicating with your climbing partner(s).

Gear & Services

Classes

Guided Adventures

Featured Places to Explore

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More Climbing Actvities

More Information

Conservation Groups:

Pikes Peak Climbers Alliance

 

Content for this page provided by Front Range Climbing

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