Ouray Alpine Climbing
Mt. Engineer's (12,968 ft) dramatic NE Ridge is a great introductory winter alpine climb with exposed knife-edge ridgeline traverses, steep snow slopes, and 3rd class rock bands. This climb can be completed in a single long day or include a 3-day alpine climbing course for novice climbers. On Day 1, we hike in and establish a basecamp just below treeline and spend Day 2 developing winter mountaineering skills such as crampon and ice axe techniques, knots, belaying, and self arrest. On Day 3 we wake just before sunrise and ascend the NE Ridge and then reverse our path from the summit. We pack up camp and head back to the trailhead in a long final day rewarded by great views of the San Juan and Weminuche Ranges from the summit of Engineer and local craft beers and dinner during the evening in Ouray.
Mt. Sneffels (14,150 ft) is the 14er rising above Ouray and dominating the San Juan ridgeline on the drive in from the north. During the winter months, the road to Yankee Boy Basin is closed due to heavy snowfall and active mining claims in the area, making access time consuming. However, after May 1st, this road is open to the public and the stable spring snowpack makes for great early season alpine climbing. Classic routes include the SW Ridge and Lavender Col, both exposed, moderate angle climbs making a great introduction to alpine climbing utilizing techniques such as belaying and during the winter and spring months we utilize crampon and ice axe techniques. On the north side of the mountain, the Snake Colouir is a classic steep snow climb for intermediate climbers offered during the spring time. These climbs can be completed in a single long day or offered as part of a multi-day itinerary, which involves a full day of climbing instruction on the slopes above a breathtaking backcountry campsite in Yankee Boy Basin. Climbers can also add another day to the itinerary and summit the neighboring Gilpin Peak (13,964 ft) via the steep snow slopes on the NE Face.
We also offer custom climbing adventures to many more 13ers and 14ers spread out across the remote and rugged San Juan mountains. Other classic alpine climbs include: Wham Ridge on Vestal Peak, a 10-pitch moderate rock climb (rated 5.4) for 10 at high altitude in the remote sub-range of the Grenadiers. The nearby Arrow Peak hosts two classic routes via the North Ridge (rated 5.6) or Arrow Spire (5.8) and can be combined with an ascent of Vestal Peak for a challenging and unforgettable climbing adventure. Other popular alpine climbs include a linkup of two 14ers in the Lizard Head Wilderness, El Diente and Wilson Peak or a 4-day trip to the remote and dramatic Chicago Basin where we climb 3 14ers, Eolus, Sunlight, and Windom Peak. Contact us today to set up your climbing adventure!
DATES: Year round
INCLUDES: Professional guide, harness, helmet, belay device w/ locking carabiner, ice axe & crampons (season dependent), mountaineering boots or climbing shoes (season/route dependent) group climbing equipment (rope, protection, and anchor material), and group camping equipment for overnight climbs (tents, stoves, etc.)
DOES NOT INCLUDE: Personal clothing, transportation, meals, lodging, travel insurance, and guide gratuity
Splitter Alpine Adventures offers guided climbs in the Uncompahgre, San Juan, and Rio Grande National Forests through a special use permit issued to San Juan Mountain Guides.
The closest airport is Montrose, CO with daily flights during the winter from most major domestic airports. Grand Junction is another airport option, 1.5 hours away. Alternatively, you can fly into Denver which is a 5 hr. drive from Ouray.
If you're driving into town consider weather conditions as the roads can be challenging in the winter. 4WD and snow tires/chains are strongly recommended.